No, I do not believe the U.S. will retreat into its cocoon and stop economic interactions with the world. If they do, where are they going to export to? Only produce within the country for own consumption? Haha. Let’s stop joking. There are still lots of actions from President Trump, that’s for sure. So, let’s keep watching. One advanced country in this part of the world called Singapore will be doing something opposite. It will be looking to become even more connected with the world as it continues to invest in technological advancements. Reported in many medias were the recommendations of Singapore’s Committee on the Future Economy (CFE). One such report is here.
As a key Singapore advisory panel, it recommended to the Singapore government to investing in new international connections such as the planned Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail, Changi Airport’s Terminal 5 and the high-tech seaport in Tuas. It issued a 10-year strategy which basically aimed at GDP growth of between 2-3 percent and to achieve this, it mainly focused on trade partnerships, deepening the workforce’s tech skills and digitalising the economy. It also recommended a review of Singapore’s tax system so that it remains pro-growth and competitive, while also “broad-based, progressive and fair” to adjust to an ageing society. (YES, even Singapore is moving towards becoming an ageing nation) The Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the proposals were all accepted and the government will pursue them. The CFE panel recommended the government NOT TO resort to protectionism or trade barriers.
Seriously, I think CFE’s recommendations, especially on the opening up instead of closing up should be forwarded to Mr.Trump Moving away is a huge thing. If it’s shown over time that ASEAN can still be successful without TPPA or even other bilateral trade agreements with the biggest economy in the world, it will be bad for the one who was left out. Coming back would then require much more effort in the future. Engagements are vital, not disengagements or mere rhetorics. Of course, ASEAN can certainly do much much more than today. How about starting with even more usage of our own currencies for trade? ASEAN has 625 million population. All the best.
written on 13 Feb 2017
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