EM – It is imperative that the USA and China find a “new balance”: Heng Swee Keat




Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat speaks at the 12th S Rajaratnam Lecture on November 30th, 2021.

SINGAPORE: It is imperative that the US and China strike a “new balance” because of the costs Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Tuesday (November 30th).

This is because the strategic competition between the USA and China , the world’s two largest economies that have increased “fragility of peace and prosperity” in the face of uncertain global economic recovery from the pandemic.

As China’s economy and influence grew, doubts about its symbiotic relationship with the US grew, with “Tensions spread to other areas such as technology and security,” said Mr. Heng at the biennial S Rajaratnam Lecture and issues of Diplomacy affects.

“In contrast to the Cold War, the US and China compete within the same networked and interdependent economic system,” said Heng, who is also the coordinating minister for economic policy.

“At best, neither of you can exploit maximum economic potential. There could be a regression in living standards, not just for the US and China, but also a catastrophic conflict for the rest of the world. “

Mr. Heng said a new equilibrium would take time and stressed that both countries would not allow should that strategic distrust overshadows the chances for mutual progress.

“The US and China will compete where they have to, but it is crucial that safeguards are in place to ensure that competition does not deviate from course and in Conflict comes, “he said.

” Any clash between the world’s two largest economies will only be to their own harm and the world. “

Mr. Heng urged them to cooperate when necessary and dismissed point out that they share “many areas of complementarity” in economic development, even though they are at different stages of development.

“By working together to create a By exercising global leadership in addressing common challenges and leveraging their vast resources of talent, capital and innovation, they can take responsibility for international progress and development, ”he added.

Singapore can make a contribution in this age of complexity by continuing to strengthen a rules-based multilateral system so that all countries, large and small, can hear their voices and their sovereignty is respected, said Heng.

“As the world develops, so must global rules and norms that determine our actions. The process of refreshing these rules, however, often takes a long time, especially when global leadership is controversial, “he said.

” Not all of us can shape the course of global action as individuals. But by working collectively, we have room for maneuver and can create new building blocks for meaningful change. “

Singapore has, for example, exerted influence in the area of ​​world trade, said Heng, pointing out that Singapore is a pioneering member of the comprehensive and progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is.

The CPTPP grew out of a smaller trade agreement – called P4 – between Singapore, New Zealand, Brunei and Chile, which addressed the desire for greater economic integration and further liberalization of trade and investment signaled on a global level.

Since then, more economies have applied to join the CPTPP, Heng said, and this has catalyzed the momentum of global change. It is also “noteworthy” that China recently expressed its wish to join the Joining CPTPP, he said.

“P4’s example shows how a few determined little S states over time can create building blocks to catalyze significant changes in world trade, “he added.

The US, added Heng, cannot afford to be absent from the region’s evolving economic architecture if its security presence is to continue to bring peace and stability to the region over the next few decades.

“While the US has revived the quad and strengthened security cooperation through AUKUS, it is just as important, if not more important, to the US economically to get involved, “he said. “If not through the CPTPP, then there has to be an alternative that is just as substantial.”

US President Joe Biden announced an Indo-Pacific economic framework during his virtual summit with ASEAN leaders in October, Heng noted.

The US Trade Representative Katherine Tai then said during a visit to Japan on November 18 that the US could create a new Asian economic framework with allies and “friendly” nations as early as next year, the public broadcaster NHK reported on Thursday / p> “We look forward to the details and the full and broad engagement of the US in the region,” said Heng.

Beyond the US and China, Mr. Heng said, Southeast Asia should provide connections with India, South Asia, Australia and Strengthen New Zealand while remaining open to Latin America and Africa.

In particular, Mr. Heng said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must work with each country who would like to work with him if it is in his interest.

“We look forward to greater economic integration when the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) comes into force and thus becomes the largest free trade agreement in the world”, he said.

In order to achieve this, Mr. Heng said, ASEAN must maintain its credibility, with the bloc’s position on Myanmar showing that it can hold its own against external pressure.

“We have a fundamental principle Taken position to reach consensus and urge other countries to do the same, “he said.

Nonetheless, Mr. Heng acknowledged that support for globalization has waned in recent years as the benefits of the global economy are not well distributed within and between economies.

“The acute pain that workers feel intermittently and the fear of wage stagnation dominate sentiment about globalization rt, “he said.

” Domestic discontent has hampered governments’ ability to engage in free trade and agree on much-needed reforms in the multilateral system and institutions.

“COVID-19 has deepened the social fault lines. The lack of unity has made it difficult for governments to implement international commitments in a coherent manner. “

Mr. Heng said Singapore, as one of the most open economies in the world, has reaped the benefits of globalization with improved salaries, more job opportunities and a more dynamic economy.” / p> However, in the face of increasing globalization, Singaporeans are also concerned about overseas competition and the disruption of their livelihoods, he added.

“To further improve the lives of our employees, the only way is to be useful and stay relevant to the world. We need to keep transforming our businesses and educating our people. “

Mr. Heng said Singapore has updated its industry transformation maps by developing new strategies for new economic realities and updating its tripartism between government, unions and employers to help to work together on this transformation.

“In a more globalized world, we hope to share and learn from others and forge new collaborations with partners from around the world to master the next wave of globalization,” he added added.

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