Singapore and New Zealand commit to maintaining supply chains amid coronavirus outbreak

It is in both countries' mutual interest to ensure that trade lines remain open, including air and sea freight, to facilitate the flow of goods.
It is in both countries' mutual interest to ensure that trade lines remain open, including air and sea freight, to facilitate the flow of goods.ST PHOTO: CHUA KEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore and New Zealand will work to remove existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, as both countries on Friday (March 20) committed to maintain connected supply chains amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a joint statement, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and New Zealand's Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said both countries are "committed to maintaining open and connected supply chains" and "will work closely to identify and address trade disruptions".

The ministers recognised that it is in both countries' mutual interest to ensure that trade lines remain open, including air and sea freight, to facilitate the flow of goods.

They also affirmed the importance of refraining from imposing export controls, tariffs and non-tariff barriers.

They also committed to working with all like-minded countries to ensure that trade continues to flow unimpeded, and that critical infrastructure such as airports and seaports remain open to support supply chains globally.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the closure and suspension of businesses around the world have led to disruptions in global supply chains.

Mr Chan has spoken on multiple occasions about Singapore's supply chain resilience. In early March, he said Singapore is reviewing its stockpile of essential items and is also looking at diversifying its supply chains.

Singapore, New Zealand and Chile in January announced the conclusion of substantial negotiations for the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, which will provide a common set of rules, standards and guidelines for global digital trade and commerce.

The agreement is scheduled to be signed and finalised at the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting in April.