11 June 2019
Tuesday, 11 June 2019
Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore,
Mr Benedict Cheong, CEO Temasek Foundation International,
Mr Keith Rockwell, Director of Information and External Relations Division, WTO
Invited Members of Parliament, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
- First and foremost, I would like to welcome all of you to Singapore. It is a great honour to address the 10th RSIS-WTO Parliamentarian Workshop. This workshop brings together parliamentarians from around the region to deliberate on key international trade issues and challenges.
- I would like to acknowledge the generous support of both Temasek Foundation International and the World Trade Organisation for making this workshop possible.
- Current events in international trade highlight the importance of this workshop and the larger multilateral trading system. This time last year, global trade had slowed but there were signs of optimism as we continued recovery from an extended lean period.
- At the present moment, however, the threat of protectionism has reared its head. South and North America, Asia, and Europe are witnessing slower growth all round this year, and OECD projections indicate that any rebound is unlikely in the coming year. In fact, we must be prepared for the scenario that certain economies may even enter a recession.
- Just last week, a report released by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Oxford Economics revealed that out of six Southeast Asian nations, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, Singapore is set to be hardest hit economically by the on-going trade war between the United States and China.
- The low growth of the Singapore economy is directly attributable to the rise in trade protectionism given the openness and trade-dependency of the Singapore economy, amongst other factors.
- What makes this worrying is that the sluggish economy is not due to a systemic macroeconomic weakness which will typically recover on its own, but to political decisions that thus far show little signs of abating.
- In spite of this, Singapore remains committed to the global trading system. In fact, we remain firm believers that everyone should embrace international trade as it brings opportunities for mutual gains and enables all countries to benefit from an open system.
- Our conviction to this belief explains why we are gathered here today. We consider it our duty, as global citizens, to support globalisation and trade connectivity. Part of this duty entails capacity building and the facilitation of dialogue between like-minded partners and stakeholders.
- What I hope we will achieve with today’s workshop is to help participants understand the complex issues that we face in global trade and recognise that any solutions for trading crises will require a multi-stakeholder approach with clear and strong leadership from Parliamentarians like yourselves.
- Hence, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of this series of workshops, I strongly believe that today’s Workshop will prioritise our efforts and reaffirm our commitments to global trade.
- As I close, allow me to extend my sincere thanks to our partners for supporting this important series of workshops, and my appreciation to all of you for participating in this workshop.
- Thank you.
Last updated on 02/07/2019