The city state is working with Australia, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand to resume essential trips in an effort to maintain supply chains

Lack of passenger flights has affected cargo capacities and disrupted supply chains for essential goods, says trade minister Chan Chun Sing

is working on guidelines with four other countries to prepare for the resumption of essential cross-border travel in an effort to maintain global supply chains during the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing held a video-conference session with trade ministers from

on Friday, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to facilitate cross-border flows with each other, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

In a speech during the video-conference, Chan said that the lack of passenger flights had “also affected cargo capacities and led to a disruption in supply chain connectivity for essential goods for many countries”.

 “These initiatives will not only help us overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also position us well for a swift recovery once the situation stabilises,” he said.

The ministers endorsed and launched a joint statement based on the one released on March 30 by the Group of 20 major economies, who had agreed to keep their markets open and ensure the continued flow of vital medical supplies, equipment and other essential goods.

The ministers also identified concrete actions to help lessen the impact of Covid-19 and will work together on the following:

1. Resume essential cross-border travel while balancing public health considerations in line with efforts to combat Covid-19. The ministers committed to establishing guidelines to allow travel on an exceptional basis, to maintain global supply chains in accordance with national laws and regulations.

 2. Expedite customs procedures to reduce processing times, such as by using electronic means for customs processing to minimise face-to-face interactions.

3. Refrain from restricting exports on essential items, such as food and critical medical supplies. They also agreed to guarantee that air, sea and land freight logistics networks will continue to operate.

 4. Minimise the impact of Covid-19 on trade and investment, such as working closely with key multilateral economic institutions like the World Trade Organisation and sharing best practices.

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