贸易是双赢的,但美国国内政治可能会阻碍多边主义:PM Lee

2020-11-19 15:33

Trade is win-win, but US domestic politics may get in the way of multilateralism: PM Lee PVp世界播

贸易是双赢的,但美国国内政治可能会阻碍多边主义:PM LeePVp世界播


Both the CPTPP and RCEP are seen as building blocks of a much larger free trade vision spanning the Pacific Ocean. PVp世界播


SINGAPORE - While the new Biden administration may have more multilateralists who support world trade, it is not clear that the United States will be more keen on throwing the trade doors wide open, or joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pact, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. PVp世界播

新加坡--新加坡总理李显龙(Lee Hsien Loong)表示,尽管拜登新政府可能会有更多支持世界贸易的多边主义者,但尚不清楚美国是否会更热衷于敞开贸易大门,或者加入跨太平洋伙伴关系全面进步协定(CPTPP)贸易协定。PVp世界播

The attitude of the Trump administration so far, he added, has been that trade is a win-lose proposition. "If I have a trade surplus with you, that is good for me. If I have a trade deficit with you, that is bad for me." PVp世界播


But trade is not like that, he said on Thursday (Nov 19) at a virtual meeting associated with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) grouping. PVp世界播


"Trade is win-win - I may have a surplus with you, I have a deficit with somebody else, but it does not matter as long as overall it balances out." PVp世界播


But that has not been the view of the Trump administration, which "is still in charge until Jan20" he noted, referencing the date when US President Donald Trump will be replaced by Mr Joe Biden, who won the presidential race. PVp世界播

但这并不是特朗普政府的观点,他指出,美国总统唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)将由赢得总统竞选的乔·拜登(Joe Biden)取代美国总统唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)。PVp世界播

"I do not think that they are likely to change their position at this late stage, but we will have to see how the new Biden administration plays it." PVp世界播


PM Lee was responding to a question from moderator and Singapore Business Federation chief executive officer Ho Meng Kit at the Apec CEO Dialogues. PVp世界播


Mr Ho had asked how Apec would be affected by the outcome of the US presidential election and the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest trade pact. PVp世界播


Both the CPTPP and RCEP are seen as building blocks of a much larger free trade vision spanning the Pacific Ocean: The Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), which Apec member economies had alluded to as early as 2004. PVp世界播


One of the reasons for the slow progress in Apec, Mr Lee said, is that the US wants to deal with issues bilaterally, rather than on a multilateral basis with multiple partners together in a group. PVp世界播


And while the Biden administration may be more supportive of the World Trade Organisation and Apec, much still depends on domestic politics, he added. PVp世界播


"Once the restrictions are in, it is a very delicate matter rethinking your position in deciding whether you want to go back to where you were, or how do you move forward." PVp世界播


He called the RCEP, which was signed four days ago on Sunday, a "big step forward". The agreement sends an important signal that countries in Asia do want to deepen regional integration, free up trade further, and are determined to work together and prosper together as a group. PVp世界播


While there has been disappointment over India's withdrawal from the talks last year, it is the hope that one day, it will return, he added. PVp世界播


"Because it makes strategic sense for (India), and I think in the long term, it makes economic sense for them, too. But they have political considerations, and I can understand that." PVp世界播


India had trade deficits with 11 of the 15 nations involved in the RCEP, and feared that the deal could result in cheap manufacturing and agricultural products flooding its domestic market. PVp世界播


PM Lee said attitudes in both the US and China have hardened a lot in recent years. PVp世界播


Many in the US see China as a strategic threat, while China thinks the US is out to thwart its development and rise. PVp世界播


But he expressed the hope that with the new Biden administration, "it will be a more coherent, systematic approach, one which will take into account a broader range of US interests, not just a trade balance, but also their overall relationship with China and the overall interest which the US has in the Asia Pacific and in the world". PVp世界播


And the US will need to be seen as setting the standard, showing the way, and playing a leading role as the most powerful country in the world, he added. "Taking care of America's interests does not mean having to ride roughshod over other countries' interests." PVp世界播


He also made the point that Apec is a forum where issues can be discussed and countries can come together and work things out. PVp世界播


The digital economy is one such area, he said, citing the need to standardise rules and introduce appropriate regulations to facilitate information flows. PVp世界播


Travel is also important, he added. PVp世界播


Countries need agreements on how to have green lanes and travel bubbles, how to test for and trace the virus, and be able to adjust the rules when circumstances change. PVp世界播


"For example, if you have a travel bubble with somebody, and then I have new cases pop up, or he has new cases pop up - what do we do?" PVp世界播


There must be some way to press the pause button until the situation stabilises again and things can be reopened, PM Lee said. PVp世界播


"These are all things which need to be discussed, and I hope will be discussed in Apec." PVp世界播


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