Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies are on track to meet their target of a 10 percent improvement in the region’s supply chain performance by 2015, in terms of time, cost and uncertainty, according to an internal assessment released Sunday.
APEC trade experts met last week in Indonesia to strengthen supply chain performance among the member economies ahead of higher level meetings between APEC trade ministers and senior officials meetings this week.
“Many goods, particularly manufactured goods, cross borders multiple times during the production process,” said John Larkin, chair of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment. “Ensuring that supply chains operate smoothly, efficiently and at a low cost can help to lift businesses and deliver a wider range of products to consumers at lower prices.”
The APEC Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan, launched by member economies in 2010, focuses on eight key choke points, including a lack of transparency and awareness among government agencies on policies affecting the logistics sector, and inadequate transport networks and infrastructure.
The interim assessment evaluated the work done by APEC economies to address the concerns and the measurable effects on improving the processes in the supply chain. The report revealed that APEC members have completed 77 percent of the actions listed in their plan for improving supply connectivity.
“These results reflect promising progress in terms of project completion and implementation, and, more importantly, suggest that we are moving closer to achieving our supply chain improvement target,” Larkin noted.
The time needed to move goods in the region has dropped 7 percent over the last three years, the assessment said. There has also been an increase in the performance of shipment quality and physical inspection.
“The reductions that we have seen in the region’s trade times and supply chain uncertainty should ultimately translate into significant cost savings for businesses and consumers,” said Denis Hew, director of the APEC Policy Support Unit which administered the interim assessment. “Supply chain disruptions due to natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods appear to have contributed to a temporary increase in costs for importers and exporters. These findings underscore the potential real world impact of pursuing further actions to mitigate such disturbances.”
The interim assessment recommends better regulatory transparency, and further application of information and communications technology. It also calls for greater support for small and midsized enterprises in the logistics and transportation sectors.
APEC is a forum of 21 Pacific Rim nations, including the United States. - Eric Johnson