SINGAPORE: While the economic benefits of globalisation are clear, it is important for leaders to put in place policies to address the "negative aspects" of globalisation, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Saturday (Mar 25).
Speaking at a panel session at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference, the Emeritus Senior Minister noted that the US had taken a step back from the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
"To get the US to come on board, we can add the word 'fair' to free trade. Free trade that is deemed to be unfair can create problems for countries such as the US," Mr Goh said at the panel, titled “Globalisation & Free Trade: The Asian Perspectives”.
In the course of globalisation there are "winners" and "losers" - those who can adjust to domestic and international competition, and those who lag behind relatively, Mr Goh remarked during the panel.
The "negative aspects" of globalisation for some countries are in the shift of jobs from the developed countries to the developing countries, he said.
Mr Goh said that to deal with the impact on their countries, political leaders have to adjust their policies. The US, for example, is renegotiating free trade agreements and the border adjustment tax to address domestic problems.
"I don’t believe that it is possible to stop globalisation, but we have to address the negative aspects, through capacity building, creating jobs, training, and re-education."
Mr Goh is in China's Hainan province from Friday to Saturday to attend the conference. As a member of the BFA board of directors, he met with Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China and Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Zhang Gaoli, along with other members of the board, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a media release.
They discussed initiatives to promote globalisation and free trade in Asia, including the Belt and Road, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other regional trade initiatives, the ministry added.
Mr Goh also met former vice-premier and current BFA vice chairman Zeng Peiyan at the sidelines of the conference, according to MFA.
Mr Goh and Mr Zeng discussed the important leadership role China could play in promoting globalisation and free trade, as well as the US-China relationship and its impact on Asia.
The Emeritus Senior Minister also met with Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Leung Chun-ying and Guangzhou Party Secretary Ren Xuefeng and had discussions with them on developments in their respective jurisdictions, MFA said.