Connectivity, digitalisation crucial to Asean+3 growth

THE post-pandemic world calls for more globalisation, not less, as a means to tackle the vulnerabilities of global value chains (GVCs) exposed by Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdowns around the world.

Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development, stressed this point in her remarks at the opening of a webinar on GVCs on Wednesday.

"Interdependence, rather than independence, will provide greater diversity and resilience to our supply chains," she noted, adding that infrastructure investments should be enhanced to take advantage of supply-chain reconfigurations.

Ms Indranee was speaking at a webinar on global value chains in the post-pandemic "new normal" which was held by the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).

"Although we have seen some cross-border relocation of GVCs globally, the ASEAN+3 region will remain a highly attractive location for GVC investment in the post-pandemic world," said Khor Hoe Ee, AMRO chief economist.

Dr Khor also tackled questions on tech tensions and how the region can prepare itself to become more competitive and resilient in a panel discussion with Deborah Elms, founder and executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, and Denis Hew, director of policy support unit at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Dr Hew in particular highlighted the importance of digitalisation.

"Although the trend toward digitalisation predates the pandemic, digital solutions have now become a necessity rather than an option for many firms," he said.

"The digitisation of GVCs can improve risk management and reduce logistical bottlenecks. However, enhancing the resilience of these value chains requires a rethinking of policies such as those on data security and human capital management."