THE Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is calling on its member states to help reduce supply chain vulnerabilities in the region to foster more sustainable economic growth, a United States representative for APEC said.
Robert Wang, US senior official for APEC, said supply chain vulnerabilities have been a big problem not just in the Philippines but also throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
In this regard, APEC has set a goal of improving supply-chain performance in the region by 10 percent from 2010 to 2015, Wang told reporters at a roundtable discussion held at the US Embassy in Manila on Tuesday.
Wang said APEC is currently studying supply chain connectivity in the region, or the idea of moving goods around the economies faster from ports across the Asia-Pacific.
He said this initiative is supported by the US, Australia and other countries through a $2 million sub-fund. “This money is used to hire experts to identify where the problems are and go into each economy to try and work in addressing these issues,” he said.
By 2015, Wang said that the APEC will come out with a report card on what has been done compared to 2010 and whether the goal of reducing cost, time and uncertainties in the supply chain by 10 percent has been reached.
“That’s something of great interest to business. So we are trying to survey the situation to find out where the problems are and try to work on them. It could be a question of too many regulations, or too many papers to fill out . . . all these very practical issues of doing business and moving the goods faster,” he said.
At present, Wang noted that an estimated $1.4 trillion worth of goods are being moved around in the region involving APEC economies per year.
He said that a 10-percent improvement in supply-chain performance in the Asia-Pacific region is equivalent to $140 billion of savings in cost and time.
“I know that the Philippines has some issues with ports as well, and how long it takes to move goods. As customs is the very key focus of the government, we are hoping that by working together, the supply chain in all APEC economies will start to improve and move faster,” he concluded.