26 May 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member governments have been urged to play a part in strengthening supply chains to make savings and promote growth.
Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore trade and industry minister, said in a keynote address to the APEC Supply Chain Connectivity Symposium on 16 May that big savings were possible.
"In a study prepared for this symposium by the Centre for International Economics, the authors demonstrate that if we can improve the efficiency of transporting goods between APEC economies by 10 per cent, we stand to gain a total benefit of US$21 billion (£13.6 billion) for the region," he told delegates at the Raffles City Convention Centre.
"Strengthening transport and logistics connections will help raise efficiency, cut cost, boost trade and speed up recovery," he said.
APEC has 21 member economies, including the US, China and Australia. The member economies account for about 54 per cent of world gross domestic product and about 43 per cent of world trade.
Lim said the World Bank had highlighted that economies with "high physical connectivity" and "strong performance in logistics experience" had more trade expansion, annual growth and exported a greater variety of products.
"This evidence points to the need for governments and businesses to do their part to strengthen supply chains. This requires coordinating across multiple agencies that oversee different parts of the supply chain - from air, sea and land transport, to customs and ports authorities and other regulators," he said.
"Governments need to work together. As a region, we need to establish common standards and principles and make it easy for goods and services to move from one jurisdiction to another."
The symposium brought officials from transport, trade, customs and regulatory agencies together with delegates from business and academia.