Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister on global economic recovery
Global Thinkers

Editor's Note: Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, sits down with CGTN anchor Xu Qinduo. He says that the international community is facing the prospect of opposing forces, the restrained growth and raised inflation. He also adds that countries should continue to strengthen regional architecture and partnerships, seize the opportunities of the digital economy and sustainable economic development, and enhance economic resilience. Views expressed in the video are his and do not necessarily represent those of CGTN.

Heng Swee Keat:

We are now faced with the prospect of opposing forces, the restrained growth and raised inflation at the same time.

So as we seek to exit the COVID-19 crisis, global central banks and fiscal authorities need to navigate the macroeconomic challenge skillfully. Decisive monetary policy action is needed to deal with inflation threats, together with targeted fiscal support we need for the most vulnerable segments.

Now, beyond the near term outlook, the risk of deglobalization has increased with ongoing U.S.-China tensions, as well as the recent use of financial sanctions. But we are not yet at the tipping point. The global trading system has proved quite robust despite the hurdles with global trade at a record high last year, despite the pandemic. But we cannot take this for granted. COVID-19 has reminded us just how interconnected and interdependent the world is. While frictions remain, we must remember growth and prosperity (are) achieved through cooperation. All countries would like to emerge stronger from this crisis. Within Asia, let's strengthen partnerships and deepen the integration of our economies in an open and inclusive way.

Let me highlight briefly three ways we can do so.

First, we must continue to strengthen regional architecture and partnerships. The RCEP and CPTPP, two of the world's largest plurilateral trade agreements are anchored in Asia. We continue to welcome like-minded partners to join these arrangements and remained open to new partnerships ahead.

Second, COVID has accelerated structural changes in the global economy, particularly digital and sustainability. We shall harness this as new sources of growth. For digital trade to be a key growth driver, we must work together to harmonize standards, enable the trusted flow of data, and empower greater participation in the digital economy.

For sustainability, we should pursue this not merely as an economic goal because climate change is existential to humanity. But green growth is a collective effort that requires huge amounts of capital and leading-edge technology. And many countries can contribute to this effort. They all can contribute to this.

The third way that we can emerge stronger is to strengthen the resilience of our economies. The foreseeable future will be full of uncertainty and increased volatility. We cannot on our own be resilient, but we can better manage destructions through stronger collaboration, especially in ensuring the flow of critical supplies in times of crisis.

Digital, sustainability, resilience. We have a full agenda ahead to achieve these goals, we must set aside our differences. By working together, Asia and the world will not only recover from the pandemic, but emerge stronger in the post-pandemic world.

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