Strengthening supply chain resilience key to advancing economic integration: FM Balakrishnan
SINGAPORE: Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has stressed the importance of advancing economic integration and maintaining trade and investment flows by strengthening supply chain resilience.
Dr Balakrishnan was speaking at the virtual Asia and Pacific High-Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation on Wednesday (Jun 23).
The video conference, chaired by China's State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, was attended by 29 countries.
"Amongst the many disruptions caused by COVID-19, having stable and resilient supply chains remains key to ensuring the continued flow of essential goods and medical supplies," said Dr Balakrishnan.
He cited the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (CCI-ILSTC) as an example of fostering greater connectivity across and beyond the Belt and Road.
The CCI-ILSTC is a key initiative under the CCI, Singapore’s third Government-to-Government project with China.
Dr Balakrishnan said that it has proven itself to be a viable and effective alternative trade route, seeing a 30 per cent year-on-year increase in cargo flows last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is well positioned to further enhance connectivity across and beyond the Belt and Road," he said.
READ: Singapore looking to develop, deploy low-carbon technologies as part of climate action efforts
VACCINE MULTILATERALISM AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Dr Balakrishnan also emphasised Singapore’s strong support for vaccine multilateralism and commitment to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that fair and equitable distribution of vaccines is essential for a global recovery.
"We have also begun discussing with many partners, including China, the mutual recognition of health certificates, in order to facilitate the safe resumption of travel, and this we believe is essential for a sustainable global recovery," he said.
On climate change, Dr Balakrishnan said the world must not lose sight of it, describing it as an existential threat.
"In fact, I can tell you from personal experience, the Paris Agreement was a key result of great collaboration among the United States, China, Europe, and the rest of the world," he said.
"We believe that all of us need to seize the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to make a global reset to achieve a more sustainable future."
Dr Balakrishnan highlighted the Singapore Green Plan 2030, which outlines a whole-of-nation approach to sustainable development.
He said that Singapore is committed to working with partners in areas such as green finance and clean energy solutions, and believes that there are many opportunities for partners to work constructively together on innovative and sustainable solutions.
"The decisions we make on green recovery today will have profound long term implications on future generations," said Dr Balakrishnan.