Think Tank (4/2021)
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Peru and Singapore: Enhancing Ties Across the Pacific Ocean
19 Aug 2021

The Embassy of Peru and RSIS co-hosted a panel webinar on “Peru and Singapore: Enhancing ties across the Pacific Ocean” on 7 July 2021. Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman, RSIS, started the webinar noting that economic multilateralism is under pressure because of geopolitics, mistrust, and rivalry among countries. Cooperative efforts between Peru and Singapore have become more pertinent, especially now in the face of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivering the opening address was Ambassador Ignacio Higueras, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peru, and Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Development, Singapore. Ambassador Higueras reminded the audience that Peru not only shares principles of free trade with Singapore, but also values based on the promotion of peace and cooperation, as well as support of multilateralism and international law. He called for reinforcing links in new fields such as science and technology, innovation, digital economy, and health cooperation to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Sim Ann cited the many similarities between Singapore and Peru, which have set the foundation for bilateral relations over the last four decades. They are both trading nations and have embraced the idea of an open and inclusive regional architecture. The two countries also believe in the importance of a rules-based international order that provides stability in an uncertain environment.

As Singapore’s Chief Negotiator for the Pacific Alliance-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Mr Peter Govindasamy, Dean, MTI Academy, noted that the Pacific Alliance-Singapore FTA builds upon initiatives by the World Trade Organization (WTO); promotes small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); fosters good regulatory practices for trade and investment; grows e-commerce and digital trade; and develops collaboration in international maritime transport services.

Dr Carlos Aquino, Director, Center for Asian Studies at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru, shared his perspectives on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). He highlighted that as the world economy and trade growth started to slow down since 2018, Asia and the CPTPP countries proved resilient. He emphasised the need for the CPTPP member states, especially in Latin America, to get more involved in global value chains and trade networks.

Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Executive Director, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, noted that APEC was mentioned the most in a public survey on organisations that promoted economic cooperation in the Asia Pacific. APEC’s support for free and open trade and the interconnected global economy were the main topics associated with APEC by the public. The respondents from Peru believed multilateralism would be important for solving global challenges, and that APEC would be effective in promoting multilateralism.

In his closing remarks, Ambassador Carlos Vásquez, Ambassador of Peru to Singapore, outlined four trends that will shape the future of the international system: (i) strategic rivalry between the United States and China; (ii) effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on health systems and subsequent economic recovery; (iii) climate change mitigation; and (iv) the fourth industrial revolution that will hasten the consolidation of the digital economy and digital governance. Multilateralism will be a key factor to pursue the common goal of promoting a just and inclusive recovery.

Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel:

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