SM Goh says Singapore can cope even if US goes into recession

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Sunday Singapore has got its economic basics right so even in the face of a looming US recession, the country can cope.

And it can also depend on the critical growth in China and India.

He was speaking in an interview with South Korea’s Arirang TV in Seoul.

He said Singapore with its good budget, good economy and strong fundamentals can weather a US recession, even though growth may be down by 1 to 2 percentage points.

Mr Goh added that the country has the surpluses to see the people through a very bad patch.

And it has been working with other countries like South Korea to establish more regional trade and investments, for instance through Free Trade Agreements.

On bilateral ties, Mr Goh said Singapore and South Korea can explore how they can synergise.

So for instance, Seoul can use Singapore to export not just to Southeast Asia but also beyond.

And Mr Goh, who was the proponent of the Asia-Middle East Dialogue, said the two countries can also work together with the Arabs to invest in third countries.

In a wide-ranging interview, the Senior Minister also said his personal goal as a senior statesman is to open up new economic space for Singapore.

On how he was able to maintain stability while introducing many changes during his tenure as Prime Minister, he said it was important that leaders and the government are trustworthy.

He explained: “You’ve got to say what you mean and do what you say.”

Mr Goh added that it was also important to “grow the economy” and “share the fruits” with the people, ensuring no one’s left behind.

When asked how South Korea could move to ratify its obstacle-laden FTA with the US, Mr Goh shared Singapore’s experience.

And this included winning over American Congressmen and business people who were against the bilateral FTA. – CNA/ch

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 25 Feb 2008

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