Straits Times forum to discuss trade tensions, winds of change

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gesturing during a 'mass games' gymnastic and artistic performance at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, on Sept 19, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

A peace process on the Korean Peninsula. A full-blown trade war between the US and China. A new government in Malaysia led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Few were willing to bet on these outcomes a year ago. Yet here they are, at the close of another year where change is a key constant.

The Straits Times Global Outlook Forum returns on Nov 28 to help readers make sense of these changes and what they portend for Singapore and the region.

Titled 2019: Trade Wars and Tensions - Navigating Global Turbulence, the annual conference is organised by The Straits Times in partnership with presenting sponsor OCBC Premier Banking and official car Daimler.

This year's forum will, for the first time, be a full-day affair at the Raffles City Convention Centre.

The keynote speaker will be Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who will also hold a dialogue with participants.

There will be three panel discussions - on Korea, the global economy, and Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Straits Times Asian of the Year will also be announced at the forum.

The first session is titled Peace On The Korean Peninsula?, and panellists will discuss the three inter-Korean summits and the landmark June 12 Singapore summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Korea expert Hoo Chiew Ping of the National University of Malaysia, Straits Times US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh and ST South Korea correspondent Chang May Choon will discuss whether this warming of ties will last and what to expect next.

The second session is titled Political Pressures And The Global Economy, and will look at how the public mood across the world is shifting, with many questioning the merits of free trade.

Also on the minds of many is how this inward turn will affect open economies and the global trading system. These will be discussed by Professor Danny Quah, dean and Li Ka Shing professor in economics at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; and Ms Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank.


  • To register, go to:

    The registration fee, which includes breakfast and lunch, is $249. There is an early-bird rate of $199 if you register by Oct 31, and a 10% group discount for bookings of five or more tickets, as well as a further 10% discount for OCBC credit and debit card holders.

Also joining them on the panel will be ST associate editor Vikram Khanna and ST China bureau chief Goh Sui Noi.

The third session will discuss the outlook for Malaysia and Indonesia in 2019. As Malaysia's new government pursues its agenda and Indonesia faces a heated election, what can we expect to see in Singapore's closest neighbours?

On the panel will be Professor Joseph Liow, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences as well as of the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University; and Dr Norshahril Saat, Fellow at the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute.

Joining them will be ST's Malaysia bureau chief Shannon Teoh and Indonesia bureau chief Francis Chan.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2018, with the headline Straits Times forum to discuss trade tensions, winds of change. Subscribe