DPM Heng Swee Keat on the Caixin Asia New Imaginative and prescient Discussion board 2023

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Ms Zhang Lihui, President, Caixin Media,

Ms Hu Shuli and Professor John Thornton, 
Co-chairs of the Caixin Asia New Imaginative and prescient Discussion board,

Women and gents,

An excellent morning, and to all our abroad visitors, a heat welcome to Singapore!

Let me first congratulate Shuli and her workforce at Caixin World for launching this inaugural Asia New Imaginative and prescient Discussion board, and bringing collectively a wonderful checklist of audio system from Asia and past, to fulfill in particular person and have interaction in deep dialogues on the way forward for Asia.

Singapore is just a bit crimson dot on the map, however we place nice worth on constructing understanding and connections, so we’re all the time pleased to function a platform to carry individuals, companies, and tradition collectively.This inaugural discussion board covers many necessary points – from monetary stability, international commerce and mobilising capital; to harnessing new alternatives in expertise and selling sustainable growth.

Underlying these matters is the crucial query of what Asian international locations must do, individually, and in partnership with the worldwide neighborhood, to attain inclusive, sustainable growth.

I hope this new Discussion board will catalyse dialogues and recent pondering on these crucial points.

We’re gathering at a time of nice international uncertainty.

The worldwide financial system is dealing with a excessive inflation, ensuing from provide chain disruptions, the Ukraine Warfare, excessive vitality costs, and geopolitical tensions. This has dampened the post-COVID restoration.

Worldwide monetary establishments stay intact for now, however the collapse of some banks has reminded us of the significance of monetary stability.

The tone of worldwide cooperation has shifted – the previous many years of globalisation is slowing and even reversing. We’re listening to extra discuss of decoupling.

Provide chains are fragmenting as international locations and corporations prioritise resilience to handle geopolitical and pandemic dangers.

Lastly, there are issues that we might miss the window to sort out local weather change, which is a world existential concern.

On the identical time, there are vivid spots.

The tempo of science and technological innovation has accelerated. This holds hope for constructing higher lives and a greater world, be it via biotechnology, inexperienced expertise, digitalisation, or AI.

There are additionally robust fundamentals in Asia’s progress story – South Asia and Southeast Asia have youthful populations and a rising center class.

Within the coming years, Asia can reap inhabitants and consumption dividends, and provide robust progress and funding prospects.With this combination of hopefulness and uncertainty, your deliberations over the following two days will probably be invaluable. So let me begin by outlining a couple of key points.

Strategic competitors

Essentially the most crucial pre-condition for Asia and the world to proceed rising and making progress, is peace and stability.

On this regard, the US-China bilateral relationship is crucial relationship on this planet.

In 2000, the US supported China’s entry into the WTO. That cooperation has since morphed right into a commerce struggle, a tech struggle, and a broader strategic competitors.

Sharp phrases have been traded, and tensions have risen.

What does this portend?

Let me draw on the knowledge of two males who’re broadly revered for his or her understanding of the US and China – Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Dr Henry Kissinger.

In a latest interview, Dr Kissinger stated that “we’re on the trail to nice energy confrontation”, as a result of “either side have satisfied themselves that the opposite represents a strategic hazard”. 

Essentially the most harmful flashpoint within the area is the Taiwan Strait, the place there’s the chance of accident or miscalculation.

When Mr Lee was requested a query in regards to the US and China in 2011, his commentary was that China’s progress might problem America’s pre-eminence, so competitors can be inevitable, however “it needn’t result in battle”.

However Mr Lee additionally warned that “when you begin at no matter stage, battle will seemingly escalate, and the shedding aspect will finally have to make use of nuclear weapons in a bid to restrict the injury. That would be the starting of the tip”.  Because of this, as Mr Lee stated, either side should “do every part they’ll to keep away from even minor conflicts”.

Whereas we are actually at an uncomfortable and certainly harmful level. However all of this isn’t an inevitability. It’s nonetheless potential to step away from confrontation and battle, and either side should accomplish that by constructing strategic belief.

Right this moment’s world is very related and interdependent.

China is the biggest buying and selling associate for over 120 international locations, whereas the US has important investments in Singapore, Asia, and around the globe.

Unbridled and unchecked competitors with no guardrails will generate nice prices and hardship, internationally. Will probably be a giant step backwards for all international locations.

So we should always all welcome the latest constructive indicators that China and the US are critical about bettering ties.

Communications between officers on either side have grown over the previous few months, and Secretary Blinken is predicted to go to Beijing this week. We look ahead to a superb consequence.

Many international locations – Singapore included – welcome this as a result of a fragmented and unstable world leaves all of us worse off.

International locations in ASEAN and around the globe don’t want to select sides, as most have deep linkages with each main powers.

New Imaginative and prescient

I’ve touched on essentially the most crucial pre-condition for having peace and stability in Asia, and the significance of the US and China resetting their relations.

However Asia and the remainder of the world should additionally take lively steps, to result in larger collaboration.

Let me counsel three areas to pursue.

Inclusive, rules-based framework for commerce and investments

First, we should proceed to uphold an open, inclusive, and rules-based framework, to drive larger commerce and funding.

However the pushback towards globalisation in some elements of the world, the need to pursue larger financial integration stays robust inside Asia and a few international locations outdoors Asia.

That is anchored within the perception that free commerce and larger financial integration, will proceed to uplift economies and populations.

Inside ASEAN for example, we now have been working exhausting to construct the ASEAN Financial Neighborhood and pursue a typical market of over 650 million individuals.

Individually and as a bunch, ASEAN international locations have negotiated commerce agreements with companions in Asia and around the globe.

ASEAN’s FTAs with China, India, Japan, Korea, and Australia and New Zealand have introduced mutual advantages, and deepened ties.

In recent times, many ASEAN international locations are participating in new regional commerce agreements like RCEP (Regional Complete Financial Partnership), CPTPP (Complete and Progressive Settlement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), and the Indo-Pacific Financial Framework (IPEF).

The modalities might look completely different from the earlier iterations, but when these new preparations might function pathfinders and assist construct confidence for broader international involvement finally, then we should proceed to pursue them.

Worldwide monetary flows

Second, past commerce, we should promote larger flows of monetary sources internationally, to catalyse financial growth and innovation. This have to be underpinned by robust worldwide monetary establishments and cooperation.

It’s important that there are a number of classes addressing monetary stability and growth at this Discussion board.

Within the final 25 years, the area has gone via the Asian Monetary Disaster, the World Monetary Disaster, and the most recent COVID-19 disaster.

I used to be working the Financial Authority of Singapore when the World Monetary Disaster erupted, and bear in mind how governments around the globe needed to take extraordinary actions, to keep away from a monetary and financial meltdown.

Since then, we now have strengthened macro- and micro-prudential measures and improved danger administration. However extra must be accomplished. The latest financial institution failures present that disaster stays a recurring function of monetary flows.

Sentiments can change rapidly, fuelled by the velocity of as we speak’s communications, and the chance of faux information. Concern and monetary contagion can unfold much more swiftly.

Because of this all gamers should proceed to improve danger administration measures and stay vigilant.

Alternatively, the environment friendly intermediation of capital to productive makes use of can catalyse progress and handle international challenges.

Inside Asia, international locations like Japan and China have important swimming pools of financial savings. If these will be mobilised to productive makes use of and to assist the actual financial system, it may possibly carry advantages throughout the area and the world.

Multilateral and regional establishments just like the World Financial institution, the Asian Improvement Financial institution and the Asian Infrastructure Funding Financial institution will play necessary roles in partnering governments and the personal sector to mobilise capital and allocate dangers effectively and appropriately.

One other monetary circulate we should always promote is enterprise capital and personal fairness funding, to assist start-ups which are using the waves of scientific and technological innovation.

For instance, in 2021, the worth of enterprise capital market offers throughout ASEAN was a file US$20 billion.

Because the tempo of innovation accelerates, enterprise capital and personal fairness funding will probably be key to catalysing this engine of progress.

Tackling Frequent Challenges

The third space that each one international locations can and should work collectively on, is addressing frequent challenges.

We might have overcome COVID-19, however the subsequent pandemic just isn’t an “if” however a “when”. We should construct on the linkages and practices that have been established throughout this pandemic, to raised put together for the following one.

The accountability of conserving our populations secure and wholesome is a common one. In a extremely inter-connected world, that is finest achieved via collaboration throughout borders, sectors, and organisations.

Going past pandemics, one other international well being concern that might profit from collaborative motion is ageing and the rising burden of continual illnesses.

Whereas respective international locations sort out the completely different dimensions of ageing – from analysis, to drug growth and neighborhood interventions – we might do quicker and do higher by exchanging concepts, sharing experience and co-developing options.

We should additionally confront local weather change with renewed effort and collaboration. The impetus for collective motion has grown extra pressing.

The world over, the affect of local weather change and excessive climate patterns is tangible, affecting lives and livelihoods.

To catalyse the worldwide vitality transition and have a shot on the 1.5-degree Celsius goal, the world wants new technological improvements and important investments to be mobilised throughout borders.

Like pandemics, local weather change doesn’t discriminate. It’s going to have an effect on us all.The quicker we are able to mobilise collective motion, the higher.

Pulling the three threads collectively, what we should work in the direction of is a brand new international structure that promotes inclusive and sustainable growth.

We’re not ranging from zero base. The 2015 United Nations’ Sustainable Improvement Targets (SDGs) supplied a framework of 17 targets overlaying the social, financial, and environmental domains.

We are actually halfway to the SDG’s 2030 timeline, however the progress is much from very best. We should do higher.

Other than valuing our frequent humanity, there’s a structural and strategic argument for inclusive growth, which is demographic-driven. Let me reiterate the factors that John Thornton made earlier.

The present strategic competitors is dominated by the 2 largest economies – the US and China. They maintain round 40% of worldwide GDP as we speak.

However present cleavages, corresponding to these between developed and creating international locations stay. Over time, these might deepen.

By 2050, we anticipate the world inhabitants to develop by one other 2 billion. Greater than half of this enhance is predicted to return from international locations in Asia and Africa.

In different phrases, a demographic increase from the World South will certainly have an effect on international energy dynamics.

If we predict that come 2050, the US and China will maintain 50 to 60% of worldwide GDP, how would possibly this focus of wealth sit with the demographic trajectory?

There are already rumblings, corresponding to calls to reform the UN Safety Council and revamp the Bretton Woods establishments. It’s pushed by the argument that present international establishments and structure don’t equitably replicate the realities of as we speak’s world.

These are troublesome points, and far will be stated about it. The purpose is that we should not solely fixate on the short-term view of strategic competitors.

The speedy tempo of technological innovation might speed up and exacerbate inequalities, since expertise tends to reward the in a position way more sharply.

If we don’t handle underlying structural impulses, these will add new dimensions to the strategic competitors, and in flip develop the chance of instability and battle.

The pursuit of an inclusive and sustainable international growth agenda should proceed in earnest.

It’s each nation’s curiosity, particularly the US and China, to assist develop a brand new structure that allows inclusive and sustainable growth.

Globalisation, underpinned by free commerce and an open multilateral system, has uplifted economies and populations internationally.

Trying forward, even because the complexion and modality of worldwide cooperation evolve, the basic imperatives stay unchanged.

Simply as commerce had and continues to uplift tens of millions, science and expertise would be the subsequent key to constructing higher lives and livelihoods, for our respective populations, and internationally.

We’re higher off unlocking these potentialities collectively – not simply the US and China, however throughout ASEAN, Asia, Europe and the remainder of the world.


Let me conclude. I began out by highlighting the significance of peace and stability for regional and international progress, and the risks posed by strategic competitors slipping into confrontation and battle.

I highlighted three areas the place we might collaborate, to extend belief, facilitate progress, and pursue inclusive and sustainable growth.

International locations internationally should do our half to allow this, by engaged on a forward-looking agenda to sort out shared challenges.

However key to that is management from the US and China – with the 2 largest economies of the world concerned, we are able to make significant progress and break new floor collectively.

Competitors is comprehensible, but it surely doesn’t should be zero-sum, neither is it the other of collaboration. Competitors and collaboration can co-exist.

I’m hopeful that over time, we’ll ease into a brand new sample of engagement and collaboration that can proceed to facilitate progress and prosperity internationally.

Within the meantime, allow us to all do our half:

As particular person international locations forging cooperation;

As regional companions pursuing mutually helpful alternatives; and

As colleagues and counterparts, conferences at boards like these, to deepen understanding, construct belief, and discover sensible methods ahead.

This fashion, we are able to collectively work in the direction of a brand new imaginative and prescient of a peaceable, steady and affluent world, wherein Asia can proceed to thrive.




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