Japan, India, and Australia’s trade ministers have officially launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) in a virtual trilateral ministerial meeting, which is seen to be a counter to China’s stronghold on supplies of essentials, with India offering to initially support the supply of five products in the two partner countries. The three nations are seeking to build stronger supply chains to counter China’s dominance as trade and geopolitical tensions escalate across the region.
“The Supply Chain Resilience Initiative aims to create a virtuous cycle of enhancing supply chain resilience with a view to eventually attaining strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth in the region. The ministers consented that expansion of the SCRI may be considered based on consensus, if needed, in due course,” the three trade ministers said in a joint statement.
Japan’s Hiroshi Kajiyama, India’s Piyush Goyal, and Australia’s Dan Tehan agreed in a video conference to instruct their officials to share best practices on supply chain resilience, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement. They also committed to holding investment promotion events to explore the possibility of diversification of their supply chains.
“Australia’s supply chains have generally proven resilient, but the pandemic has highlighted the need for greater international cooperation to strengthen supply chains,” Tehan said in a separate statement. “Japan and India are important partners for Australia. I look forward to working closely together to strengthen supply chain resilience in our region.”
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“Based on the information that will be shared, our officials should map the existing supply chains, identify the gaps and discuss possible options to make them more resilient,” Piyush Goyal said at the meeting.
In 2019, the cumulative GDP of the three countries was $9.3 trillion, while cumulative merchandise goods and services trade was $2.7 trillion and $900 billion, respectively.
“Based on the high-level consultations among Australia, India, and Japan since September, the ministers noted the importance of risk management and continuity plans in order to avoid supply chain disruptions and affirmed their commitment to strengthen resilient supply chains. Possible policy measures may include: (i) supporting the enhanced utilization of digital technology; and (ii) supporting trade and investment diversification.