Singapore

Singapore not ‘immune’ from US-China trade war: Minister

As trade tensions continue to grow between the US and China, Singapore must be prepared to deal with the challenges, and Singaporeans need to follow developments closely and gird themselves "for the long haul", said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing yesterday.

Global businesses and consumer confidence will be affected by the ongoing trade conflict between the two giants, which will hurt global investments.

As a result, there will be a negative impact on jobs, Mr Chan said.

"Singapore cannot be immune from all this fallout. We need to watch closely what is happening. We need to prepare ourselves to deal with the impending challenges," he said on the sidelines of the opening dinner of the International Maritime Security Conference.

Singapore needs to work with like-minded countries to uphold and update the global trading system, Mr Chan added.

"This is why Singapore supports a rules-based, stable and predictable international trading environment, which has been crucial to our growth all this while."

Elaborating on the nature of the trade conflict, Mr Chan said it is serious because it does not just reflect short-term political and economic pressures.

The conflict is also a reflection of the deeper challenges the US and China are facing domestically, as well as the changes in how they view each other and want to relate to each other.

In the US, many Democrats and Republicans see China as a strategic competitor. Many Chinese people are wondering if the US will work to thwart its growth and development.

"These fundamental issues cannot be resolved in the short term, and Singaporeans must be prepared for the long haul," said Mr Chan, who also wrote about the issue on Facebook.

As US-China trade patterns shift, there will be an indirect impact on the rest of the global economy, he said, adding that this will have the greatest consequence for Singapore's economy.

But by watching these shifts closely, Singapore can carefully position its economy to seize opportunities and manage potential downsides, he said.

Mr Chan said Singapore is also working to expand its network of free trade agreements and pursuing other "high-quality, more inclusive digital economy partnerships" which will create opportunities for local businesses and better jobs for Singaporeans.

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