​Important for Singapore and ASEAN to promote free trade
PUBLISHED ON 08 Jun 2018
Amidst growing trade tensions between the US and China, it is important for Singapore and ASEAN to promote free trade.

Speaking to media during his trip to China, Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat, “We are negotiating ASEAN agreements with China and with all our key partners and there is a strong interest to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,” he said, adding that it will not be easy to achieve.

While free trade benefits parties in the broadest sense, Mr Heng noted that there are winners and losers in free trade. “That’s why in our case, we always have free trade policies and that's why we take economic restructuring so seriously, in particular the retraining of our workers, to make sure that our workers continue to have good jobs, continue to enjoy a rising standard of living," he added.

On the ongoing trade war between US and China, Mr Heng commented, “I think it will have a rather unpredictable impact on the financial markets in the first instance.”

During the media event, Mr Heng also reiterated that Singapore’s younger leaders will continue to maintain close ties and further relations with China and that they will build on what has been achieved by previous leaders.