The Impact of Asia's Growth: A View from Singapore
Ambassador Chan Heng Chee of Singapore
Photos | Transcript 

Ambassador Meera ShankarWashington, DCOn January 13, 2011, Ambassador Chan Heng Chee of Singapore hosted WFPG at the Embassy of Singapore for a program on Asia’s economic growth and Singapore’s unique role between the developed and the developing world. Ambassador Chan emphasized the diversity in the region and the importance of analyzing each country’s economic development separately. She highlighted Singapore’s substantial growth and called attention to countries that thrived despite political turmoil.

Ambassador Chan addressed the diverse levels of development in the region and outlined reasons for Asia’s successful growth, stressing the importance of internal and external factors including sweeping stimulus packages at the beginning of the recession that prevented major unemployment and the positive impact of Chinese and Indian trade markets. Singapore’s astounding 2010 growth rate of 14.7% is the highest in the region, standing in sharp contrast to the region’s average growth rate of only 5%. The Ambassador did note however that over the last three years, Singapore’s growth rate averaged 5%. The Singaporean government has been quick to rebound, and will continue to develop water, environmental, and other technologies and is slated to grow by 4–6% in 2011.

The Ambassador also outlined the challenges that such rapid growth causes for the region, including inflation and insufficient food and energy resources to support the increasing demand, especially in China and India. Ambassador Chan also noted that without healthy markets in the US and Europe, there can only be a limited amount of growth in Asia. When the US recovers from the recession, she hopes that they will take advantage of trade opportunities in Asia as a new member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She reiterated that Singapore maintains a strong reputation in the global business world and hoped that companies looking for opportunities would explore her country.

Addressing the role of China in regional and global politics, the Ambassador commented that she would like to see the United States take a leading role in managing China’s global growth. China has continued to expand their presence in Latin America and Africa by purchasing natural resources and arable land. The Chinese also plan to build ten mega-cities over the next fifteen years. In the Ambassador’s opinion, the US–Chinese relationship is extremely important, but it has become more tense over issues of trade and over North Korea. She hoped that after the upcoming state visit between President Hu and President Obama, relations between the countries would continue to improve so that these two great powers can jointly address key global issues like North Korea, Iran, and climate change.


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Ambassador Chan Heng Chee addressing WFPG


Ambassador Chan and WFPG President Patricia Ellis

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Ambassadors to the US from Singapore, Zambia,
Senegal, Tanzania, and Cape Verde,
Ambassador to the OAS from Uruguay, and Patricia Ellis

  Ambassador Chan greets Board
Chair Maxine Isaacs
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Ambassador Chan with WFPG Board Member Theresa Loar

  Ambassador Chan with Ambassador Fatima
Viega of Cape Verde, Ambassador
Sheila Siwela of Zambia, and Patricia Ellis
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Ambassador Sheila Siwela of Zambia and
Ambassador Fatou Danielle Diagne of Senegal
  Catherine Marshall asks a question during the Q&A
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Patricia Ellis with WFPG Board Member
Isabel Jasinowski and her husband
Jerry Jasinowski
  WFPG members and guests