Australia, India and Japan launch supply chain resilience initiative

Trade ministers of India, Japan and Australia on Tuesday formally launched the Supply Chain Resilience initiative in a trilateral ministerial meeting held virtually. The meeting, held in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and its worsening impact on trade flows.

Australia’s minister for trade, tourism and investment Dan Tehan, India’s minister for commerce and industry Piyush Goyal and Japan’s minister for economy, trade and industry Kajiyama Hiroshi, also issued a joint statement, which was adopted at the meeting.
The ministers acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic was having an unprecedented impact in terms of lives lost, livelihoods and economies affected, and that the pandemic had revealed supply chain vulnerabilities globally and in the region. The ministers also noted that some supply chains have been left vulnerable due to a range of factors.
Based on the high level consultations among the three nations since September last year, 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: 
  • Supporting the enhanced utilisation of digital technology; and 
  • Supporting trade and investment diversification.
The ministers announced the launch of the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) and instructed their officials to implement the following as initial projects of SCRI and further develop the Initiative: 
  • Sharing of best practices on supply chain resilience; and 
  • Holding investment promotion events and buyer-seller matching events to provide opportunities for stakeholders to explore the possibility of diversification of their supply chains.
The ministers decided to convene at least once a year to provide guidance to the implementation of the SCRI as well as to consult on how to develop the initiative. The ministers noted the important role of business and academia for the initiative. They also directed their officials to meet as often as required to take the initiative forward. 
The SCRI 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.
To quickly take forward the initiative, the ministers explored convening the trilateral ministerial meeting, once in four months.