S'pore, UK can help each other as global economy evolves

(From left) British High Commissioner Scott Wightman, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and British Chamber of Commerce president Bicky Bhangu at the business awards event yesterday.
(From left) British High Commissioner Scott Wightman, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and British Chamber of Commerce president Bicky Bhangu at the business awards event yesterday.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Important for countries to resist trend of isolationism, Chan Chun Sing tells BritCham

The world needs new rules and standards for the rapidly changing fields of finance, data and intellectual property, an initiative that would create platforms for countries such as Singapore and Britain to seize new opportunities.

The call came from Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who told the British Chamber of Commerce's business awards yesterday: "Trade and finance are our lifelines and have been our lifeblood since time immemorial.

"The UK and Singapore would know it and appreciate it more than many others."

Mr Chan said the World Trade Organisation system needs to evolve to meet the challenges of connections beyond sea, land and air trade routes.

Noting the date Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union, he said: "After March 29, 2019, we will continue to live in a globalised world with interconnected production and value chains."

He stressed that it was therefore important for countries to resist the current trend of isolationism. He said: "We have a shared destiny in upholding a rules-based global system for our individual and collective good."

HELPING OTHERS GLOBALISE

There will be net winners and net losers in a country, and we will need to find ways to redistribute some of these gains and... help those who have been losing out... to make the adjustments to catch up with the rest of the pack. Failing which, there will be the inevitable local backlash, leading to global consequences.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER CHAN CHUN SING, on how governments need to share the created wealth among all members of society.

But Mr Chan added that globalisation requires governments to share the created wealth among all members of society. "There will be net winners and net losers in a country, and we will need to find ways to redistribute some of these gains and... help those who have been losing out... to make the adjustments to catch up with the rest of the pack.

"Failing which, there will be the inevitable local backlash, leading to global consequences," he said.

Mr Chan said that despite being separated by a large physical distance, both Britain and Singapore have had many opportunities to work together.

Earlier in the evening, chamber president Bicky Bhangu said Singapore was Britain's largest trading partner in Asean, with a total trade of around $11.4 billion last year.

Mr Chan said that beyond bilateral trade, both countries should "use each other as a platform, as a launchpad, and as a gateway to the larger markets around us".

Speaking to the audience of business people at the event at the Shangri-La Hotel, he said: "Many of you have shared with me how you have used Singapore to service the regional economies. And

 

that's how we've connected and built up with each other over years, decades and centuries.

"You will shape how the UK stays engaged in this part of the world... I'm confident that the ties beyond the UK and Singapore will continue to grow from strength to strength, never mind what happens on March 30."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore, UK can help each other as global economy evolves'. Print Edition | Subscribe