• Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivering her Conference Keynote Address, "Myanmar in Transition", at the Singapore Summit 2013
  • Conference Chairman, Mr George Yeo, delivering his opening remarks at the Singapore Summit 2013
  • Distinguished Guest Speaker Pak Muhammed Jusuf Kalla, with Conference Chairman Mr George Yeo, at the Singapore Summit 2013

FOREWORD

The second Singapore Summit held last September was well-received. Participants from 30 countries engaged in discussions around the theme of "Global-Asia Confluence". Many fed back that it was an improvement over the inaugural event in 2012.

The third Singapore Summit will be held again in September this year, again coinciding with the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix. Building on the same theme of "Global-Asia Confluence", we will focus on China after the Third Plenum and on some of the political risks in the region that are of concern to many of us. We will also discuss the implications of energy and technological trends on business and finance.

The overall outlook for the global economy has continued to improve, especially the recovery in advanced economies. The US economy is forecast to grow at its fastest in nearly a decade, enabling the Fed to taper gradually. Manufacturing is a bright spot, the sector's revival supported by cheaper energy and productivity gains. Europe is slowly recovering but high unemployment persists.

In Asia, the growth of cities and middle classes continues to fuel economic development despite political uncertainties. Although capital outflow to advanced economies has created short-term turbulence in shallower Asian markets, Asia's economic transformation and the internationalisation of Asian companies will continue. The shift of the global economy to Asia continues.

In Southeast Asia, 2015 is a major milestone marking the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community. Both the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) bringing the ASEAN-10 countries and their six dialogue partners in Asia closer together, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) integrating East Asia with the Americas are two wheels pushing ASEAN forward.

However, political risks bear watching. Regional disputes over islands, territorial waters and history are worrying. They reflect deeper power shifts in the Asia-Pacific and call for greater statesmanship among leaders. Trends in technology and non-traditional hydrocarbons add to the uncertainty. These trends should add to global welfare but the shorter-term effects can be destabilising.

The third Singapore Summit will be an occasion for us to take stock of the changes and make sense of them. The programme begins with a welcome dinner on Friday, 19th September in an informal setting. This will be followed by a full-day Conference on Saturday, 20th September which I am honoured to chair. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has agreed to take part in a dialogue after lunch.

George Yeo
Chairman of Kerry Logistics
Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Singapore