July 18, 2022
SINGAPORE – Singapore deeply feels the impact of major global moves as it is a small and open nation, and it is crucial for it to have a voice at forums like the Group of 20 (G-20), said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Sunday (July 17).
“When I attend these fora, I always keep in mind why I am here, and why I update everyone on what I do – on social media and more. It must always be for Singaporeans,” he said in a Facebook post.
“It is important that we keep faith with our people, and work to advance Singapore’s interests on an international level,” he added.
Mr Wong was in Bali from Thursday to Saturday to attend the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting chaired by Indonesia, which holds the rotating presidency of the G-20 this year.
It is the third such meeting of finance ministers this year, following one in Jakarta in February and another in Washington in April.
In his post, Mr Wong said all countries, including Singapore, are being hit by big shocks such as Covid-19 and the Ukraine war and its impact on the economy and prices, especially for energy and food.
He also cited rising geopolitical tensions and the erosion of the rules-based multilateral system that has served countries well for so many decades.
Having a seat at a forum such as the G-20 is important for Singapore as it allows the country to have its voice heard when the world’s largest economies discuss global matters, he said.
“It helps us build stronger ties with our counterparts, so we understand each other better. And with a strongly coordinated global response, we can work towards solving the most pressing issues of our time,” said Mr Wong.
Singapore is not a member of the G-20, which brings together the world’s largest economies, including the United States, China, Japan, India, Indonesia and Russia as well as the European Union.
However, the Republic has been invited to take part in many past G-20 summits and related meetings as the convenor of the Global Governance Group (3G), which is an informal grouping of 30 small and medium-sized members of the United Nations.
The 3G was established by Singapore in 2009 and aims to promote greater dialogue between the G-20 and the broader UN membership.
Mr Wong added in his Facebook post that the journey ahead in the global environment will be bumpy, with more shocks ahead.
“But I know that by keeping the faith, and having trust in each other, we can sail through together – a stronger Singapore,” he said.
In a separate post on Saturday, Mr Wong had thanked Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Bank Indonesia governor Perry Warjiyo for hosting a successful meeting.
“Singapore and Indonesia share strong and substantive cooperation in many domains, underpinned by close people-to-people ties. We will continue to work closely with Indonesia to realise its G20 Presidency vision, for the world to #RecoverTogetherRecoverStronger,” he wrote.
At last week’s G-20 meetings, Mr Wong spoke about how the G-20 has a key leadership role to play in tackling immediate challenges such as food insecurity as well as showing leadership on longer-term issues, like pandemic response and climate change.
The meetings also discussed ways to prepare and respond to future pandemics, as well as the role of multilateral institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank amid the uncertain global economic outlook.
While in Bali, Mr Wong also met his counterparts from G-20 countries, including Dr Sri Mulyani, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, South Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho, and South African Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.
He also met United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Financial Affairs Mohamed Hadi Al Hussaini, Netherlands Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag and Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers, among others.