Not much progress at G-20 talks: PM Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that it is worrying the G-20 economies did not make much progress in Osaka and told Singaporeans to brace themselves for uncertainties ahead.

Even as Singapore works with like-minded countries to uphold the multilateral trading system, Singaporeans must be “psychologically prepared” for the uncertainties to come, he said.

Warning that there will be “many twists and turns, ups and downs” in the global economic climate, he said Singapore must make sure its internal strength is maintained and increased to overcome any challenges.

This means training Singaporeans, upgrading skills, working together as one country and being prepared for uncertainties.

“There will be many twists and turns, ups and downs. Every now and again, new alarms,” Mr Lee told Singapore reporters after the Group of 20 Leaders’ Summit. “You have great relief when disaster is averted. After some time, further twists and turns will emerge and we must be psychologically prepared for that, and guard ourselves to go through this period of uncertainty.”

On the external front, it is vital for Singapore to work with neighbours in Asean and farther afield, as well as other small countries, “to make common cause and have our voice heard”.

Singapore must work in multilateral forums, building them up and pushing for reform where needed, so as to have a rules-based order as best as possible.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Deputy PM and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also in Osaka, said multilateral platforms like the G-20 “are important to bring partners together and ensure a rules-based international order, to help settle disagreements between countries in accordance with international norms”.