S'pore to receive essential items to battle Covid-19 from New Zealand under trade declaration

Meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and medical instruments are among products covered under the trade declaration. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Food and other essential items will be landing in Singapore from New Zealand next week under a new trade declaration launched on Wednesday (April 15).

Both nations have pledged to ensure the continued production and flow of essential items for the combating of the Covid-19 pandemic through their sea and air ports.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post that the declaration is a direct outcome of a joint ministerial statement among nine countries last month.

He added that he was looking forward to the shipment from New Zealand next week. Details of the items are still being finalised, said a Ministry of Trade and Industry spokesman.

Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Laos, Myanmar and Uruguay had affirmed their commitment to keep trade lines open amid the Covid-19 crisis.

They highlighted the importance of not imposing export controls or tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and to remove trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, because of the pandemic.

The countries will also identify and address trade disruptions that affect the supply of necessities.

Mr Chan said: "We welcome more countries to join us in pledging their commitment to keep supply chains open, connected and resilient."

He also affirmed the strong ties that Singapore shares with New Zealand, which he called a close and like-minded partner of the Republic. The two countries also share close economic ties, he said.

Meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and medical instruments such as syringes, catheters and ultrasonic scanning equipment are among products covered under the trade declaration.

The Government has emphasised the need for supply chain resilience and credited the strategy of diversifying food sources as a way to help Singapore tide through the economic stressors brought by Covid-19.

Mr Chan in February spoke about the need to diversify Singapore's economy so it is not overly dependent on one market or a particular industry.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said during a visit to a fish farm this month that Singapore has collaborated with nations to diversify its food sources, maintained a national stockpile, and is continuously looking to technology to boost the productivity of local farms.

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