The Third Singapore Summit held last September brought together 400 business and thought leaders from 32 countries to discuss a range of issues driving politics and economics in the region. Many participants fed back to say that they found the sessions interesting and helpful.
The Fourth Singapore Summit will be held in September this year, again coinciding with the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix. Expanding on the theme of Global-Asia Confluence, the coming Summit will cover tensions in global economics and finance, implications of the sharp drop in energy prices, challenges of sustainability and the need for new business models in a Global-Asia business landscape which is changing rapidly.
Despite improvements in the US economy, the global outlook remains subdued and patchy. Europe continues to flounder; Japan is still struggling; and China has slowed down. In all countries, structural reform is called for but the politics of change everywhere is difficult. Lower energy prices should boost overall global demand.
Happily, despite weaknesses in the global environment, Asia continues to grow. China has the capability to increase investment in a controlled way; India should do better under a new government; and ASEAN is experiencing a second wave of growth. The integration of Asian economies continues, facilitated by steadily improving connectivity.
We have to keep one eye on downside risks. Geopolitical tensions in Europe, the Middle East and Asia bear close watching. Competitive quantitative easing has the effect of competitive devaluation which creates new political strains. Volatility in oil prices is sending shock waves across the global economic system.
There will be much to take stock of when we meet at the coming Summit in September. The programme will begin with a Welcome Dinner on Friday, 18th September, followed by a full-day Conference on Saturday, 19th September. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has kindly agreed to take part in a dialogue with Summit guests at the Conference. I look forward to seeing you (again).
Chairman of Kerry Logistics
Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Singapore