Heng Swee Keat discusses US-China trade issues at Davos World Economic Forum

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos. PHOTO: WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

The momentum of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will not slow if countries support the vision of economic integration through building connectivity, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

"Geopolitics will have an impact on the pace and the international trading system, so it is important for us to push on and look for projects that are economically viable, bankable and have proper rules and regulations," he said at the World Economic Forum meetings of political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, yesterday.

"And we shouldn't let the current trade skirmishes end up affecting the longer-term objective of better integration for a better world," he added, referring to the trade war between the United States and China.

It is vital, Mr Heng said in an earlier interview, that the two countries settle their trade differences to avoid damaging economic growth elsewhere in the world. "It is important for both sides to try and cut a deal because the impact on the global economy of any trade friction is going to be very negative," he told Bloomberg Television.

Trade tensions are prompting changes in how goods are manufactured and traded, he said, adding that South-east Asia is a potential beneficiary as companies seek to shift supply chains.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2019, with the headline 'Heng discusses US-China trade issues at Davos forum'. Print Edition | Subscribe