Forum: World should not sacrifice good economic principles

The World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting here next year should pay attention to enhancing the order of the global economy. An international economy with sound order built on good economic principles will ensure enduring prosperity for all nations.

Economic relationships among nations have become more complex due to national and international politics, as can be seen from the intricate nature of the United States-China trade dispute.

Though it is impossible to decouple politics completely from international economic relationships, we should not sacrifice too many good economic principles.

Nations should adhere to the spirit of fair competition. Allow each nation to use its comparative advantage with little restriction. Imposing tariffs and other hurdles or subsidising local production to compete with cheaper imports should be discouraged.

All hidden costs - such as damage to the social and physical environment - and all benefits, including secondary or spill-over benefits, should be taken into account for all major industries and projects. A system should be proposed for businesses to pay for or restore any damage caused, such as by paying a tax for carbon emissions.

The WEF should advise nations to rectify or improve their unsound economic policies or possible economic mismanagement, such as investment in risky, extravagant mega projects, over-spending and incurring of high debts.

In our closely linked world, the collapse of one economy will affect other economies.

Albert Ng Ya Ken