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The death of globalisation?

In the wake of the Covid crisis, the tide is slowly turning away from outward-looking policies. Is this the end of globalisation as we know it and what will it mean for open economies like Singapore?

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THE DEATH OF GLOBALISATION?: In the wake of the Covid crisis, the tide is slowly turning away from outward-looking policies. Is this the end of globalisation as we know it and what will it mean for open economies like Singapore?

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THE DEATH OF GLOBALISATION? In the wake of the Covid crisis, the tide is slowly turning away from outward-looking policies. Is this the end of globalisation as we know it and what will it mean for open economies like Singapore?

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A staff member tending to a rooftop garden used for urban farming to grow edible plants above the Raffles City mall in Singapore. The Republic has kick-started local food production to ease dependence on imports.

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“With Covid-19 upon us for some time, food-supply disruptions are a real risk,” then Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said in March, adding that the government has launched an “express grant” support to help local farms speed up the production of fish, leafy vegetables and eggs.

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PM Lee is hopeful that Singapore’s economic strengths, international reputation built over decades and its strong links to the global flow of trade, capital and people would help it conquer the challenges and rise stronger from the crisis.

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“We must chart a new direction for a very different and uncertain future. I don’t have all the answers but ground realities are fast evolving, often without precedence. Staying still is not an option.” Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry

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David Leong, who runs Straits Trades Incorporated, thinks Singapore must reinvent its economy "to remain relevant to both superpowers", adding: "We need to build an economy that can serve not just as a springboard, but also a shock absorber to them," he says.

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Selena Ling, OCBC Bank’s head of Treasury Research and Strategy, says Singapore would need to “adapt and evolve as the world changes and navigate the tectonic shifts” in a “bi-polar global economy” after Covid-19. The irony is this may entail “more proactive specialisation and more targeted policy intervention”.

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The goal is to get ready for the day when online shopping, working from home, telecommuting and Zoom meetings become the new normal. Covid-19 has brought that day nearer.

THE scenes are familiar around the world, and eerily reminiscent of the dark days of the Great Depression - long lines of workers given their marching orders, chain-bolted gates with "Closed for Business" signs hung permanently in shopping malls and factory sites, queues for free food and...

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