Singapore PM: Global cooperation remains critical amid COVID-19

Global cooperation remains critical amidst COVID-19 pandemic and to resume growth, one must look beyond returning to the status quo ante, says Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“We must look ahead. Within countries, governments and businesses must collaborate to tap new markets and develop novel technologies,” he said when delivering a special address virtually at the World Economic Forum Davos Agenda Week from Singapore.

Externally, Lee said countries need to strengthen the framework for international cooperation.

“As an immediate task, countries should collaborate to develop a standardised, robust system to verify the authenticity of tests and vaccinations. This is essential to re-open borders and resume international travel,” he said.

In the longer term, the prime minister said countries should work together to update and strengthen international institutions like the WTO (World Trade Organisation), and create new rules to govern and foster novel forms of economic activity.

Citing an example, Lee said to sustain the growth of the digital economy, and facilitate safe, secure and efficient cross border e-payments and data flows, “we have to develop new e-trade regulations.”

Lee noted that the republic has concluded Digital Economy Agreements with like-minded countries like Australia, Chile, and New Zealand.

“We hope that this is only the beginning. We encourage all countries to come together to shape and grow the digital economy globally,” he said.

The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last year by 15 countries was also a major collective commitment to trade and economic integration, amidst the pandemic, said Lee.

“The RCEP will broaden trade, open up markets in East and Southeast Asia and Australasia, and hopefully, prevent the push for resilience and self-reliance from going too far,” he said.

The World Economic Forum will convene the Special Annual Meeting 2021 in Singapore for four days from May 25 and will return to Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, for the Annual Meeting 2022.

The Special Annual Meeting 2021 in Singapore will be the first global leadership event to address worldwide recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

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