2016 Foreword

2016 Foreword

Asia is at an important crossroads in a steady shift to a new phase in global affairs. One that is marked by slower trade and economic growth, continuing tensions in sectarian conflicts and maritime disputes, rising income inequality and changing demographics. Technology is also transforming industries and creating both disruptions and opportunities in the economic, political and social environment. More than just economic considerations, initiatives such as ‘One Belt, One Road’, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have added another dimension to international and regional relations. Amidst these challenges, the major powers are redefining their strategic relations with each other, and their relationships with countries in Asia. The bilateral relationship between China and the United States remains a key factor for peace and stability in the region. How Asian countries, individually and collectively, deal with these challenges would determine the future prospects of Asia.

It is imperative for all stakeholders to rise up to the challenge, and adjust to the changing landscape. We need to heighten our appreciation of the challenges that may affect Asia’s growth trajectory and promote greater cooperation and strengthen the foundations for inclusive and sustainable growth in the region and the world. The Singapore Forum aims to promote a regional discourse on Asia’s future and the geostrategic, politico-economic and governance issues that would have an impact on regional development and stability.

The theme for Singapore Forum 2016 is “Asia and the World – Shared Opportunity, Shared Prosperity.” The key question is whether and how a rising China and the presently dominant US will define their relationship and avoid the Thucydides’s Trap. We will discuss the opportunities and challenges posed by shifts in the external environment, and focus on the political and economic frameworks needed to lead us on to greater stability and prosperity in the region. We will also look at the implementation of various economic architectures that have been created to expand trade and investment in the region as well as measures to improve cross-border transport and infrastructure development. The Forum will also examine the effects of technology on financial systems, the opportunities it presents and its impact on traditional models of banking and finance.

Singapore Forum 2016 begins with the welcome dinner on Friday 1 April. Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies of the Republic of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, will deliver the dinner address and share his views during a dialogue session with you at the dinner. This is followed by a full-day Conference on Saturday 2 April, where Mr Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament, Republic of Kazakhstan, will deliver the opening address, Dr Narongchai Akrasanee, Chairman, MFC Asset Management Plc., former Minister of Energy and former Minister of Commerce, Thailand, will speak at the luncheon, and Mr Thomas Trikasih Lembong, Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia, will deliver the closing address the same day.

At the inaugural Singapore Forum in April 2015, many guests participated in the wide-ranging discussions covering geostrategic, politico-economic and technology issues that have an impact on regional development and stability. We are encouraged by these very rich and meaningful discussions, and I look forward to having the same robust and thoughtful discussions on how we can create shared opportunities and achieve regional peace and prosperity at Singapore Forum 2016.


Wong Kan Seng
Former Deputy Prime Minister, Republic of Singapore
Chairman of Singapore Forum Advisory Board
Chairman of Ascendas-Singbridge Pte Ltd

Past Events 2016

"The idea that the solutions lie in monetary policy is a real distraction from the true task of governments – to form a consensus on the priorities for the future, and to move on in tackling the structural issues to get there."

Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Deputy Prime Minister &
Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies
Republic of Singapore

"For Central Asian states, it is vitally important to find ways to combine trade and economic strategies of the leading powers. The synergy... will enable the region to offer an efficient and balanced model of global economic development to the world."

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament
Republic of Kazakhstan

“One of the major challenges that the world economy is facing today is shrinking US dollar liquidity all around the world. The most natural solution for this retreating dollar liquidity would be an incoming rush of renminbi liquidity."

Thomas Trikasih Lembong
Minister of Trade
Republic of Indonesia

“I would like to push a particular scheme, what I call ASEAN Access – Internet access... I go anywhere in ASEAN, I want to be able to use my SIM and I want to subscribe to any SIM from anywhere, very much like the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA)."

Dr Narongchai Akrasanee
Chairman, MFC Asset Managment Plc., Former Minister of Energy, Former Minister of Commerce, Thailand

“We believe, in the future, it is not ‘free’ trade that we are looking for, but ‘fair’ trade that we are seeking. Free trade [should] mean fair trade from global powers. We have to talk about global prosperity."

Muhammad Lutfi
Former Minister of Trade
Republic of Indonesia

"First, we need to take a differentiated approach to different technologies and their applications… Second, we need to adopt a risk-based approach to Fintech… Third and last, I think we need to actively promote the Fintech ecosystem..."

Ravi Menon
Managing Director
Monetary Authority of Singapore

“The East Asia Summit already brings together the ASEAN ten, and the key partners of this region... I would like to propose that they organise themselves to a Peace and Security Council of the East Asia Summit..."

Dr Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa
Former Minister for Foreign Affairs
Republic of Indonesia

“Chinese outbound investment is greater than inward investment... Tourism is also growing very fast. China last year has over 100 million people going to different countries; they spent US$160 billion, larger than Chinese outbound investment in the world."

Dr Wang Huiyao
President, Center for China and Globalization
Counsellor, State Council of the People’s Republic of China
Advisory Board   Speakers   Programme

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