To improve supply chain resilience and trade between the 3 nations, India, Japan, and Australia have launched a Supply Chain Resilience initiative.
On April 27, 2021, a video conference meeting took place between Dan Tehan, Australia's Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment; Piyush Goyal, India's Minister for Commerce and Industry; and Kajiyama Hiroshi, Japan's Minister for Economy, Trade, and Industry. The Trilateral Ministerial officially launched the Supply Chain Resilience initiative (SCRI) during the meet, the initiative discussed in September 2020.
The Joint Statement explained that the "SCRI aims to create a virtuous cycle of enhancing supply chain resilience to eventually attain strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in the region." They intend to initiate their initial project and further develop it according to the consensus.
As stated in the statement, the ministers acknowledged the COVID-19 pandemic situation, which had affected "globally and all regions" unpredicted. They revealed that the supply chain had a vulnerable effect "globally and in the region," and it was noted that "some supply chains have been left vulnerable due to a range of factors."
They considered risk management and continuity plans on the chain supply by implementing possible policy measures that may include: "supporting the enhanced utilization of digital technology, and supporting trade and investment diversification." They focused on "avoid supply chain disruptions and affirmed their commitment to strengthen resilient supply chains."
Their initial projects include "sharing of best practices on supply chain resilience, and holding investment promotion events and buyer-seller matching events to provide opportunities for stakeholders to explore the possibility of diversification of their supply chains."
On April 28, during a press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian was asked to comment on the launch of SCRI. He claimed that this "Artificial industrial "transfer" is an unrealistic approach" which could not provide a solution to problems about "the global industrial and supply chains or to the stable recovery of the world economy." Lijian explained that market forces and companies' choices "determine" the global industrial and supply chains.
Lijian expressed the hope that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the "parties concerned will cherish the hard-won outcomes of international cooperation in the fight against the epidemic." He added to ensure stability in the global industrial and supply chains, and everyone shall "respect the laws of market economy and free trade rules, and act in ways conducive to enhancing mutual trust and cooperation."
Amid the supply shortages in various countries due to several rules and restrictions imposed by the nations, some articles referred to trade dominance. Some media reports suggest that the SCRI diversifies the supply chain to be less dependent on China and counter its sovereignty. The report cites some anonymous sources in Tokyo and New Delhi. However, there is no official mention in the agreement in connection with China. The deal aims at future plans of Japan, Australia, and India to enhance their cooperation with the supply chains. Hence the claim is misleading.