“The golden age of globalization that we have witnessed in the last 30 years since the end of the Cold War has clearly ended and we are entering a new era, a new era that will be marked by greater geopolitical struggles,” said the deputy. Prime Minister of Singapore. and Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Wong.
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The golden age of globalization is over and a fundamental change in the way the world works is underway, said Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Lauren Wong.
While countries have not fully backed out to protectionism, companies are increasingly affected by geopolitical tensions, Wong said during a dialogue at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore on Monday night, referring specifically to tense US-China relations.
However, Wong said Singapore and the rest of ASEAN want a balanced relationship with both the US and China and would prefer the two countries engage with the region “on their own merits” rather than through the prism of a US relationship. and China.
“Where the logic used to be, countries don’t have to be friends to do business with each other. In fact, the hope was that the more we trade and invest in each other, we will reduce geopolitical rivalry,” Wong said.
“Remember McDonald’s theory that where we have McDonald’s everywhere, there won’t be a war? Well, that was history and the end of history.”
“So now there’s a different logic at play… the golden age of globalization that we’ve been through in the last 30 years since the end of the Cold War has clearly ended and we’re entering a new era, a new era That will be marked by greater geopolitical strife.”
If those developments are normalized, the world will become more dangerous and fractured, he said.
Tensions and business between the US and China
Singapore will continue to work with both the US and China without taking sides, Wong said, adding that a likely meeting between the leaders of the two nations is encouraging.
“With that ability to come together to meet in person, there will be an opportunity to establish a new modus operandi between the two countries, realizing that the world is really big enough for China and the US and that the two countries don’t have to.” define their relationship in hostile terms,” Wong said.
He warned of the effects such a relationship could have on the perception of younger generations in the US and China.
“And if there’s no opportunity for the connection and communication between people to take place, it’s very easy to paint the other side as the bad guy, we’re the good guys. And both sides do that.”
“And you’ve got a whole generation of people growing up that way, what happens in 50 years, in 30 years? I think that’s something we should be concerned about.”
Business leaders participating in the discussions at the conference agree that the growing divide between the US and China is not good for business.
“Look from the other side of the mirror. China just went through a US shock,” Cheah Cheng Hye, co-chairman of Value Partners Group, a Hong Kong-listed fund management company, said during a panel at the conference.
“The generation of Chinese who may have been born in the last generations, many of them have idealized America and the American way of life. It is such a shock to the Chinese today to be rejected by America and subject to racial discrimination. profiling, there’s a lot of disillusionment, there’s a lot of ‘what are we going to do now’.”
While positive engagement doesn’t mean there won’t be “rigorous competition” between the two countries, cooperation will be beneficial, especially when it comes to issues such as climate change and pandemic responses, Wong said.
The United States and China have benefited from their financial interconnectedness, founding chairman of Avanda Investment Management, former chief investment officer at Singapore’s GIC, Ng Kok Song, said during a panel at the conference.
Ng said studies have shown that many U.S. S&P 500 companies have benefited from China’s growth, both in revenue and size.
Likewise, the Chinese have welcomed international capital and financial institutions into their market, John Studzinski, vice chairman and director of US investment management company Pimco, said during the same panel.
When asked about a timeline for his succession as Singapore’s new prime minister, Wong did not provide a specific answer, warning that there are more pressing issues, such as the high cost of living, a potential economic slowdown next year and the risk of new mutations in the economy. the Covid pandemic.