Prolonged trade war could severely hurt Singapore: trade minister

The city state has found itself in the crossfire as its major trading partners duel with tariffs.

Whilst Southeast Asia has found some benefits from the deepening trade hostilities between the U.S. and China, the risk of a protracted conflict should have everyone worried about the state of the global economy, said Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.

“In the medium term, some countries benefit and some countries lose,” Chan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in Singapore. “What is more worrying for everyone is that the entire global economy loses confidence.”

That would have “a huge impact” on the financial markets, and could slow down the entire level of economic activity, said Chan, who is one of several men seen as a leading candidate to become the next prime minister. “Then I think it will impact everyone negatively.”

It’s still early days and that worst-case scenario hasn’t materialised yet, the minister said. But it’s a worry for a small, open economy like Singapore’s, where exports amounted to 173 percent of gross domestic product last year. The city state has found itself in the crossfire as its No. 1 and No. 4 trading partners duel with tariffs, threatening to upend global supply chains.

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