TPP countries defy protectionist trend to maintain supply chains

SINGAPORE — As many countries tighten restrictions on exports of vital products in response to the coronavirus pandemic, members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade pact are going against the tide of protectionism with agreements to facilitate free trade.

A plane carrying 20 tons of meat from New Zealand, including beef and lamb, landed at Singapore’s Changi Airport on April 22, marking the first step in a trade initiative launched by the countries the previous week.

The two TPP members agreed to remove tariffs and other trade barriers on goods deemed essential to combating the pandemic, mainly medical supplies such

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Fragile ASEAN food supply chains creak under strain of pandemic

SINGAPORE — The chickens supplied by Toh Thye San Farm have shrunk. They used to weigh in at 2 kg, but now they yield only around 1.3 kg of meat.

The Singaporean outfit simply lacks the manpower to nurture bigger birds, since Malaysia locked itself down to curb the spread of the coronavirus. As workers are unable to cross the border, the food supplier has seen its operating capacity decline by around 30%, according to Kenny Toh, head of projects at the family-run farm.

“When you have not that much workforce, you basically cannot produce as much,” Toh said.


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China food chains eat humble pie after anger at price rises

SHANGHAI – Two Chinese restaurant operators have apologized after a customer backlash over recent price increases, highlighting the difficulty that the country’s businesses face in recovering from the coronavirus outbreak.

Both Haidilao International Holding and Xibei Youmiancun admitted they were wrong to hike some prices to try to mitigate rising operating costs after a widespread quarantine to contain the epidemic.

Haidilao, known for its hotpot dishes, gradually pushed up prices by some 6% after it resumed business on March 12. But it has since reverted to what it charged before Jan. 26, the day when all its outlets nationwide were

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