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Trade in Asia: looking ahead

Trade in Asia: looking ahead

Hong Kong March 24th 2022 – Economist Impact hosted the 3rd annual Asia Trade Week virtually from March 21st to 24th.

The virtual week brought together more than 3,000 business leaders, trade negotiators, policymakers, academics and experts to debate and discuss the most important issues surrounding Asian trade and business.

Across 4 days, discussions focussed on trade tensions between China and the United States, RCEP, SMEs, digital finance and cryptocurrency, supply chains and ESG.

On the first day Anita Prakash, senior policy advisor, International Economic Cooperation, ERIA shared: “Real value of RCEP lies in deepening the trade linkages in Asia, in a time of de-globalisation and post-pandemic recovery, without the involvement of the US or Europe.”

Day two of the virtual week focussed on supply chain and logistics. During the panel discussion on Understanding advances in digitalisation in the shipping industry and the opportunities it presents.

Trade and global supply chains

Quah Ley Hoon, chief executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore comments, “Despite disrupting global supply chains, the pandemic has also catalysed transformation through digitalisation and decarbonisation for the shipping industry.

“The need to reduce physical contact and documentation has accelerated this transformation, and created efficiencies that has improved global supply chain resilience.

“The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore stands ready to help companies in the maritime sector uncover opportunities in digital transformation and support the industry in their digitalisation efforts as we shape the future of shipping to build a resilient future economy.”

Technology was the focus of day three, with discussions centred on the future of cryptocurrencies as payment in Asia and the digitalisation of trade finance.

Addressing the challenges and opportunities of 3D printing for regional and global trade Michele Ruta, lead economist, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment Global Practice, World Bank states that, “The conventional wisdom is that 3D printing will disrupt world trade.

“The evidence so far points in the opposite direction: 3D printing has reduced the cost of production and enhanced the quality of products, thereby leading to a surge, not a decline, in international trade.”

Day four opened with the discussion on understanding the challenges and achieving sustainable targets across supply chains as experts from Shell, H&M Group and New Balance explored the regulatory and emission reduction challenges in the light of the recent COP26 climate summit.

Raw materials

During the keynote interview on Day four Han-Koo Yeo Minister of trade, Republic of Korea comments, “What we are doing after [shortage] that is to try to identify key raw materials… on which we are highly dependent on one or two small groups of countries and we are also exploring ways in which we could prepare ourselves for any type of contingency or emergency situation.

“So one way would be [to] see whether we could internalise those raw materials sourcing or production or some sort of stockpiling system in preparation for this emergency or encourage diversification to our private sector or develop a bilateral or multilateral network partnership and collaboration among like-minded countries. ”

Chaired by The Economist Group’s editors, the event featured industry expert speakers including:

  • Dan Tehan, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Australia
  • Damien O’Connor, Minister of Trade and Export Growth, New Zealand
  • Mei-Hua Wang, Minister of Economic Affairs, Taiwan
  • Gan Kim Yong, Minister for trade and industry, Singapore
  • Han-Koo Yeo, Minister of trade, Republic of Korea
  • Annabelle Huang, Managing partner, Amber Group
  • Anderson Martins, head, Supply Chain & Procurement, Nestlé Philippines
  • Pakorn Thampimukvatana, Director, Supply Chain, India and Southeast Asia, Danone
  • Pandian S, Regional head, Logistics Supplier Management, APAC & Central Americas, Intel
  • Rama Sridhar, executive vice president, Digital & Emerging Partnerships and New Payment
  • Flows, Asia Pacific, Mastercard
  • Saad Ahmed, Managing director, Commercial; acting head, Merchant, Grab
  • Sheldon Goh, director, Financial Services Industry, Microsoft
  • Steven Beck, head of trade and supply chain finance, Asian Development Bank
  • Vik Saran, Director of materials, Asia, New Balance
  • Vineet Sharma, Chief operations officer, Pizza Hut Asia Pacific
  • Veera Sinnemäki, manager, Global Sustainability Program for Climate, H&M Group

View the final agenda.

Asia Trade Week is supported by Shell, Hinrich Foundation, KPMG, McKinsey Global Institute, UPS, Hanjin and HKTDC.

On-demand access to Asia Trade Week is available, please visit the website:

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