Singapore Says Asian Growth Helps Offset U.S. Trade Threat

Will Asia Offset U.S. Trade Pullback for Singapore?

Asia’s expanding economies and growing middle class are a benefit to Singapore and may help offset the threat of a trade pullback from the U.S., according to the city state’s Economic Development Board.

Rising cross-border trade and deals “will provide that lift for countries in this part of the world,” Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the EDB, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin. Asian countries are the biggest source of demand for Singapore’s exports, helping to shelter the city state if the U.S. decides to cut its offshore production, he said.

Singapore’s Beh Swan Gin says Asia’s growing economies may offset the threat of a trade pullback by the U.S.

(Source: Bloomberg)

“I think the U.S. will use its huge domestic market to try and reshore back some of the activities, but Singapore doesn’t really participate in that part of the global supply chain,” he said. “A lot of our manufacturing here is to address the needs and opportunities in Asia.”

The new U.S. administration has signaled a possible turn toward protectionism, saying it may impose taxes on some imports as it looks to force companies to move production to the U.S. If the U.S. Congress passes a mooted border tax plan, Asian exports could fall 3 percent to 4 percent, reducing the growth rate in the region by 0.5 percentage point, according to estimates from Credit Suisse Group AG.

Singapore’s export industry is showing early signs of recovery, supporting growth in the trade-reliant economy. Non-oil domestic exports rose 9.4 percent in December from a year ago, helped by a pick-up in electronic shipments. Machinery and equipment, including electronics, are Singapore’s largest exports, accounting for almost half of the total. The country also exports fuel and chemical products, mostly for use in other Asian countries.

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