Singapore remains fully open to trade and investment, says Finance Minister Lawrence Wong

SINGAPORE, April 26 (The Straits Times/ANN): Singapore remains fully open to trade and investment as it reopens from the Covid-19 pandemic and charts a new course forward, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said after a 10-day work trip to the United States.

“We are a small, open country,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday, April 26.

“That’s why we care deeply about the world – not only what the risks and opportunities represent for ourselves, but also for the global system as a whole.”

Wong also said he was happy to fly Singapore’s flag overseas, reaffirm relations with international counterparts and discuss new areas of cooperation, ranging from economy to sustainability and innovation.

“All of this will help strengthen our ties with the world and attract more opportunities for our people – especially as we reopen from the pandemic and chart our new path forward,” he added.

Wong had visited Washington D.C. and New York from April 16-25, on his first overseas trip since being chosen as the leader of the People’s Action Party’s fourth-generation team, putting him in the running to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

During his visit to the United States, Wong attended the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and the second meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors under Indonesia’s chairmanship of the Group of 20 ( G-20) in 2022.

He met with World Bank Group President David Malpass and his management team, International Finance Corporation Managing Director Makhtar Diop, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Secretary General Mathias Cormann and Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of the World Bank Group Anshula Kant.

Wong also met with his counterparts from Asia-Pacific and beyond, including Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who chaired the G-20 meeting, Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Indian Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman, Japanese Minister of Finance Shunichi Suzuki and Philippine Minister Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez.

He also met Luxembourg Finance Minister Yuriko Backes, Turkey’s new Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati, Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, Italian Finance Minister Daniele Franco, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

Wong also discussed U.S. engagement and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region with senior U.S. officials, including Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, Assistant Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, U.S. Representative Commerce Katherine Tai, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

He also attended the Ministerial Meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, and met FATF Chairman Marcus Pleyer.

Pleyer will hand over the presidency to T. Raja Kumar, senior adviser for international affairs at the Ministry of Home Affairs and current head of Singapore’s delegation to the FATF, who will assume the position for a two-year term.

During his visit, Wong also spoke at the Peterson Institute for International Economics about the need for governments to reorient fiscal policy to drive inclusive and sustainable growth in a post-pandemic world, and called for stronger multilateral cooperation on global public goods.

He also met with Singaporeans living in New York at a rally hosted by the Permanent Mission of Singapore to the United Nations, its first such physical event since the pandemic.

He wrote: “I was also happy to see Singaporeans raising our flag high overseas, in many different roles. Let’s keep the Singapore spirit strong!” – The Straits Times/ANN