The trade ministers of Japan, India and Australia on Tuesday said an initiative to build resilient supply chain in the Indo-Pacific region could be launched later this year. The announcement came following reports that the three nations are looking to work together to counter China’s dominance on trade. The trio looks forward to creating a free and transparent trade and investment environment.
According to a joint statement, the ministers have instructed their officials to promptly hammer out details for an initiative to strengthen supply chains for launch later this year.
The trio came up with this initiative in a video conference held on Tuesday, attended by Australia’s minister for trade, tourism and investment Simon Birmingham; India’s minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal; and Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry Kajiyama Hiroshi.
Other countries in the region with shared views were also called upon to participate in the initiative.
“The initiative couldn’t have come at a more opportune time in the post-COVID scenario when there is a likelihood of rechurning of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region and it’s incumbent on us to take the initiative”,~ Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry
While China wasn’t specifically addressed during the meeting on Tuesday, the three ministers did agree that ASEAN nations would be good candidates to reach out to next, according to Japan’s trade ministry.
The Tuesday conference was hosted by Japan, but the three ministers may meet again as needed while officials work toward putting the initiative together by the end of the year, the ministry said.
In the meeting, Japan’s Kajiyama suggested including the digitalization of trade procedures and support for capital expenditure as part of the initiative. A pre-existing scheme where Japan is supporting capex into ASEAN countries will serve as one reference point for the initiative, according to the ministry.
Already, India, Japan and Australia make up the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, along with the US, to strengthen national security consultation.