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Opening Remarks by Minister Gan Kim Yong at a Roundtable on Supply Chain Resiliency with Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris

Opening Remarks by Minister Gan Kim Yong at a Roundtable on Supply Chain Resiliency with Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris

Introduction

 

1. Let me welcome Vice President Kamala Harris to Singapore. We are honoured to host you and your delegation, and hope that you have been enjoying your trip.

 

Supply chain resilience comes from diversity, connectivity, and trust

 

2. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the importance and complexity of global supply chains. Restrictions on movements of people and goods as well as stoppages to production and logistic flows have threatened to severely disrupt global supply chains, including essential supplies such as pharmaceuticals, masks, and even food supplies in certain areas.  Fortunately, as countries around the world worked to fight the pandemic and revive the economy, global supply chains have largely been restored, having survived temporary shocks.

 

3. Therefore, countries and companies are rightfully paying more attention to the resilience of their global supply chains. Some are considering in-sourcing entire supply chains to mitigate risks, but we must acknowledge that there are limits and challenges to what a country can do on its own.

 

4. For example, electronics and semiconductor supply chains are complex and need to be globally optimised. It will be costly and challenging to replicate the full manufacturing eco-system within the same one country and yet remain globally competitive. The world still needs to come together to effectively overcome supply chain challenges.

 

5. From Singapore’s perspective, there are three key elements of supply chain resilience.

 

a. First, trust. Throughout the pandemic, Singapore was one of the few countries which continued to maintain free flow of goods and services and did not impose export controls, including on 3M N95 masks to the US. This enhanced our reputation as a trusted partner among businesses and the international community.

 

b. Second, diversity. Diversification of sources is key to ensuring a reliable supply of critical goods, so that when one source is disrupted, supply chains can adapt and shift flexibly. This means working together with a wide range of trusted partners to ensure supplies continue to flow even under difficult circumstances.

 

c. Third, connectivity. Singapore is one of the world’s most connected countries. Even when passenger traffic collapsed, SIA replaced it with freight traffic instead. We were also able to divert many supplies to sea freight instead as air traffic slowed. In addition, we signed supply chain connectivity agreements with many countries to reinforce our shared commitment to the free flow of goods and essential items during the pandemic.

 

Singapore can be a natural partner for the US and its companies to strengthen supply chain resilience and deepen regional engagement

 

6. Trust, diversity, and connectivity are strong reasons why the US and Singapore can continue to work on joint approaches to address common supply chain challenges. 

 

7. Singapore is already a gateway to Southeast Asia for the US and its companies today.

 

a. The US is Singapore’s largest foreign investor, facilitated by the US-Singapore FTA and Singapore’s network of FTAs with other countries

 

b. We can do more together, by enhancing our existing collaborations such as through the Partnership for Growth and Innovation with the US Department of Commerce, and venturing into new areas via the new US-Singapore Climate Partnership.

 

c. The potential of our G2G agreements will be realised through the hard work of our business communities, enabled by our excellent trade associations such as AmCham and the US-ASEAN Business Council.

 

d. You can trust Singapore to honour our commitments even in the toughest of times.

 

8. We look forward to deepening our collaboration with the US and US companies to forge stronger connections and advance bilateral and regional cooperation to our mutual benefit.

 

9. The initiative announced about the US-Singapore dialogue on supply chain resilience will provide another platform for us to continue the conversation on strengthening the resilience of our supply chains.

 

10. Thank you.

 

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