TPP not the only way forward

Men holding signs as they demonstrate against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in Washington, DC.
Men holding signs as they demonstrate against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in Washington, DC.PHOTO: AFP

Changes in government policies in the United States can affect us in Asia, especially when many countries in this region place so much trust and confidence in the leadership of the US ("TPP exit not best way to maintain competitiveness" by Mr Albert Ng Ya Ken; Nov 24).

However, each nation will look after its own strategic interests first - and powerful nations are no different. And since it is the Americans who elected Mr Donald Trump as their next president, it is for them to worry about their competitiveness and to take America wherever they want.

That is a very good reason for us not to place all our eggs in one basket. As circumstances change, we must recalibrate our own responses and not be fixated on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or be too dependent on the US.

Who knows for sure whether the TPP exit by the US will adversely affect its competitiveness?

America still has to trade, and trade will always depend on mutual accommodation, although as a large economy and power, it has more negotiating power. Let us not doubt that the US will always look after its national and international strategic interests.

It is not here to do any great favours without extracting something from Asia.

If the TPP is not to be, let Singapore move on and do its own strategising.

Lim Ang Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline 'TPP not the only way forward'. Print Edition | Subscribe