G20 takes urgent measures to keep global economy afloat . . .
The finance ministers of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies met virtually earlier this week to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. Among the issues discussed was the need to strengthen health systems around the world, because the quicker the world quells the pandemic, the faster and stronger the economic recovery will be. They agreed to expansive fiscal and monetary policies to protect workers and firms, and to keep key supply chains open to guarantee the flow of goods and minimize serious disruptions.
Asia Pacific economies stepping up to the challenge . . .
In line with the principle of keeping supply chains active, six countries in the Asia Pacific – Singapore, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Myanmar, and New Zealand – issued a joint statement asserting their commitment “to maintaining open supply chains amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to facilitate the flow of goods and essential supplies.” China also stepped up to the challenge, announcing that it will increase its international airfreight capabilities to maintain active and timely cargo transport. To that end, China will re-purpose some airplanes currently assigned to commercial flights and enhance co-operation with global airlines to expand freight networks.
Canada in a far better position than most . . .
Most Asian economies are moving fast to keep key supply chains open. Canada has participated in many of these early decisions – particularly through the G20 – about key supply chains and open trade. Similar to China, Japan, and Singapore, the Government of Canada has enacted a new industrial policy directive directing manufacturers to re-purpose their facilities to mass produce vital medical supplies like masks, respirators, and ventilators. These early moves may help explain why, according to current figures, Canada’s economic growth has been one of the least negatively impacted within the G20 so far, with a projected 1.3 per cent decrease in GDP growth, while Germany and France are both bracing for a seven per cent decrease, and the U.S. for a 2.8 per cent decrease.
- Asia Times: China to improve supply chain by airfreight
- Channel New Asia: Singapore, 6 other countries committed to maintaining open supply chains
- The Economist Intelligence Unit: COVID-19 to send almost all countries into a recession