Minister for Trade and Industry
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) is basically a department of the Government of Singapore which directs the formulation of policy related to the diversification of economy. Apart from this department, there are various other Singapore government departments and bodies that are totally administered by the Government of Singapore. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has its main office at the Commercial Hub in Singapore. In Singapore, one can find all the leading global companies from countries like Japan, US, China, Europe, Australia and many more.
There are various issues of importance to be handled in the general interest of Singapore and the Minister for Trade and Industry is the chief man for this. There is presently a severe situation arising in Singapore with regard to the global economy and the country is watching very closely the direction in which the economy is going. Nowadays the global scenario has been affected by several unexpected events such as the outbreak of AIDS, tsunami, earthquake etc. These unexpected events have had a great negative impact on the overall economy of Singapore and the country is still undergoing the process of adjustment. But despite this the Singapore economy is continuing to grow at a healthy pace and this fact is attributable to the good management skills of the present government and the efforts made by the present government to build up the straits times Singapore economy.
In this relation, the current minster for trade and industry, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr S K Grant, is handling the situation very prudently. One of the most important issues that have come out in the past few months is the issue of Singapore's vulnerability to the global markets. There have been quite a number of occasions where Singapore has not been able to fulfill its trading commitments due to its inability to meet its international trade obligations. This in fact has jeopardized the whole economy of Singapore and has created a situation whereby Singaporeans are worrying about the economic security of the nation.
The present government has taken immediate steps to remedy the situation. On 4 July, theminister for trade and industries, Mr S K Grant, addressed a press conference and assured the public that all measures taken by the authorities would be taken in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO). He went on to state that Singapore would remain fully compliant with all the WTO rules and would not allow any member state to unfairly restrict Singapore's economy. The Ministry of Trade and Industry was also quick to reassure the public and the business community that the measures taken would not negatively affect the Singapore economy. The Ministry for Trade and Industry released a statement saying that the amended or revised rules of the General Agreement on Trade (Gafta) will not adversely affect Singapore's performance as a nation.
In the past, trade agreements between Singapore and other nations were usually based on raw material and goods flow rather than on services and tourism. There was also a time when Singapore was denied entry into the European economic market because it did not meet the minimum standard of "fairness" with respect to its trade. While this does not appear to be the case any longer, the minister stressed the need to uphold these standards in order to retain Singapore's place in the international trade system. According to him, this can only be done if Singapore remains a free, open, and competitive nation. This calls for a re-examination of Singapore's trading relationships with other nations. With this, Singapore will have to engage in bilateral and multilateral talks to improve its trade agreements and improve the status of its economy at the global level.
The Minister for Trade and Industry has also released a statement strongly discouraging the dumping of foreign products in Singapore, or the Singapore-ophilia among the countries that have such practice. According to him, the current rules and regulations of the WTO prevent member states from discriminating against Singapore. The minister also announced that Singapore will not accept protectionist measures or action against other member states that may result in adverse impacts on Singapore's economy. There are many issues that are faced by Singapore as a country, which the government should address, but does not seem prepared to do so. Perhaps this will be another area that is taken up by the incoming government.