Countries concerned by consequences of ‘de-risking’ should speak up: Lawrence Wong

2 weeks ago 38

TOKYO – It will take time to persuade major powers that “de-risking” in global trade comes with the same risks as decoupling. But it is important that those who worry about its unintended consequences, like Singapore, speak up, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

And he believes that the message does land.

“Whether or not countries are receptive to the message, well, I think they understand the logic and the risk,” he said on Friday.

“But it’s not going to be possible to persuade everyone overnight. Still, it’s important that we speak up, we highlight our stance, our approach and our concerns about where we see the world heading. And we should also encourage others who have similar views to speak up.”

Mr Wong was speaking to the Singapore media at the end of his official trip to Tokyo, where he had delivered a pointed speech at a conference on how de-risking could just as well lead to a polarised world economy. During his visit, he also met Japan’s political and business leaders.

Asked how his message was received during the meetings, he responded first by saying that “it’s good that the language has shifted because it used to be ‘decoupling’”. The Group of Seven (G-7) leaders’ statement in Hiroshima last week – Japan was the host – described de-risking as reducing “excessive dependencies” in critical supply chains, as opposed to “decoupling” that has traditionally referred to a hard split.

But he cautioned that it remains unclear “what form de-risking will take, what exactly that means”.

“And we think if there are...

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