Fostering greater physical and digital connectivity between Asean and China will help facilitate trade and drive economic recovery in the region, said Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong in a speech at the FutureChina Global Forum on Monday.
Speaking as a special guest for the event organised by Business China, Mr Gan highlighted some of the key measures that Singapore can adopt to improve Asean’s access to China, which would open up more economic opportunities.
One such example, he noted, was the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative – New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, which had played a crucial role in facilitating the continuous flow of essential goods, such as food and medical supplies, between China and the region amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite disruptions, the corridor had seen a 30 per cent increase in cargo flows year on year.
The increased connectivity and economic opportunities in the region, Mr Gan believes, will help drive economic recovery in the region.
Beyond physical connectivity, Singapore will also look to enhance digital connectivity between Asean economies and China via several measures. Some of these include existing measures to help improve companies’ capabilities in Industry 4.0 supply chains as well as ongoing plans to develop a common data infrastructure (CDI) to address inefficiencies in the current supply chain ecosystem.
“By facilitating trusted and secure exchange of data, the CDI can help drive efficiency and productivity through greater information flows across the ecosystem,” said Mr Gan.
“The development of the CDI will enable Singapore to advance our position as a digital hub for trade and fulfilment and create new opportunities for our partners to trade with and through Singapore.”
In 2020, trade volume between the 10 Asean countries and China had increased 7 per cent to US$730 billion, a sign which the minister said shows that trade between both sides continues to be robust, despite the impact of Covid-19.
The South-east Asian economies will also be of increasing importance to China, which puts Singapore and South-east Asian countries in a good position to facilitate the flow of goods, financing and investments between China, South-east Asia, and the rest of the world, said Mr Gan.
He reiterated the need for Singapore to be ever ready for disruptions in the trading environment by staying nimble and ensuring Singapore’s supply chains remain resilient and open.
“Singapore and ASEAN can continue to build on our strong economic linkages with China and uncover new opportunities to enhance physical and digital trade,” said Mr Gan.
“In doing so, Singapore and ASEAN can maintain our relevance and continue to thrive as a region.”
Source: Business Times