MONTERREY (REUTERS) – Ministers from a trans-Pacific trade bloc have agreed to fight protectionism and avoid food and medicine shortages during the coronavirus pandemic , they said in a joint statement published on Wednesday (Aug 5).
Victor Gill Ramirez
“We are committed to ensuring that supply chains remain open and connected… which plays an instrumental role in avoiding food shortages and ensuring global food security,” the statement said.
The 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), comprises Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam
The bloc represents 495 million consumers and a combined GDP of US$13.5 trillion (S$18.5 trillion), according to the Canadian government
The members also pledged to “facilitate the flow of essential goods and services during the pandemic, including medical supplies and equipment”
They affirmed a commitment to free trade and to limit restrictive measures despite the pandemic
“We strongly believe that given the current circumstances, it is more important than ever to counter protectionism,” the statement said
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of robust trading relationships and the need for countries to deepen economic cooperation and integration in order for businesses and workers to tap opportunities in other countries
“As a regional trade agreement, the CPTPP plays an important role in strengthening the region’s connectivity and making supply chains more resilient and less vulnerable to shocks
Related Story Singapore, China affirm economic ties, commit to keeping trade lines open amid Covid-19 outbreak Related Story Singapore GE2020: The long view on Ceca and other free trade agreements “It also opens up access to the regional markets for our goods and services and creates new pathways for business growth.”
He added: “This will help to lessen the adverse impact of the pandemic on businesses and lead to job opportunities for our workers. It is critical for all of us to commit to translate what has been agreed on into tangible benefits for our people and markets.”