Sat, 25-Jun-2022
Friday 24 Jan 2020 , 10:40 am

US-China Must Compromise on Phase II Trade Deal: Lee Hsien Loong

Lee told Bloomberg “both sides have to make quite basic adjustments”. The US, he said, must decide whether to create rules that allow “the best man” to win or only let America come out on top.
By SIN Bureau
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Both the US and China must make adjustments if they are going to reach a lasting phase-two trade deal that benefits the rest of the world, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

Lee told Bloomberg “both sides have to make quite basic adjustments”. The US, he said, must decide whether to create rules that allow “the best man” to win or only let America come out on top.

“America First means you do the best for the United States,” Lee said in Davos, Switzerland, while attending the World Economic Forum. “So do you do the best by prospering in the world and there are other countries who are doing well, or do your best by being a big country in a troubled world? And I’m not sure that the second is a very good answer.”

China, on the other hand, must decide whether they are going to be “constructive players” in world affairs and accept that “rules which were acceptable to other countries when they were smaller and less dominant now have to be revised and renegotiated,” Lee said.

“It’s not so easy for them to concede and voluntarily step back from what they feel they can hold on to for a while longer,” he said. But if they make that adjustment, “there’s some possibility of working out a modus vivendi which will be stable and constructive for the world,” he said.

Singapore, a city state heavily dependent on trade, had been one of the most outspoken countries in Asia calling for the US and China to reach a trade deal. Lee has warned that Southeast Asian nations might one day be forced to choose if the world economy gets pulled apart into different blocs.

The Trump administration has sought to convince countries around the world to avoid using equipment from Huawei, China’s biggest tech firm, for 5G networks, arguing it poses a national security threat. Singapore’s government so far has left the decision up to its telecommunications operators.

Lee reiterated that Singapore has not “banned Huawei” but will evaluate it based on operational requirements. Any system will have weaknesses, he said, and governments must try to keep them secure.

“We have to make our own assessments, and the assessments have to be based on facts and risks,” Lee said. “And having made those assessments, well we may come to a conclusion which is different from what the Americans have come to, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not concerned about similar issues.”

Lee added that differences of opinion on Huawei do not necessarily signal a loss of US influence.

“If you ask us on security cooperations, certainly we are closer to the US than to China,” Lee said. “But in terms of our trade, the Chinese are our biggest trading partner. In terms of our overall relationship, we have deep relationships with both.”

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Neha Mule

Neha writes articles on sectors including medicine, food, materials, and science & technology. A qualified statistician, she has the ability to observe and analyze the trends in global markets and write compelling articles that help CXOs in decision making. She is a bookworm and loves to read fiction, lifestyle, science and technology. Neha comes with 6 years of experience in content writing and editing that involves blog writing, preparation of study materials and OERs.

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