Singapore has planted a fresh flag to promote global trade - in stark contrast to what it sees as a "dark shift" toward protectionism in other developed markets.
The city-state's Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) on Thursday released its long-awaited report on how the island-nation will address challenges from stagnant economic growth as key industries, such as trade and commodities, suffered from a slowdown and digital disruption.
The CFE was set up last year to develop strategies to prepare the workforce for economic and social challenges, including digital disruption and an aging population.
The 30-member committee was co-chaired by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran, and included cabinet ministers, members of parliament and business leaders. The report will form the basis for Singapore's upcoming budget statement later this month.
Singapore, despite being less than a quarter of the size of the state of Rhode Island, often punches well above its weight diplomatically and can help to set the rhetorical tone for the region. It is Southeast Asia's only country with developed nation status.
But the city-state has long hung its hat on openness to global trade and among the various challenges to the country's economy, the delayed CFE report honed in on recent political developments in the U.S. and Europe.
"Most worryingly, the world saw a dark shift in mood away from globalization in 2016. It no longer seems certain we are on an inexorable course towards greater globalization, stronger multilateral institutions and a more connected world," the report said.