Singapore wants open supply chains as US levels China chip curbs

Singapore is pushing for "open, inclusive" tech supply chains to counteract accelerating economic bifurcation after the US moved to restrict China's access to cutting-edge semiconductors.

Speaking at an event on Wednesday (Nov 9), Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said such divisions would be inflation, supply chain disruptions, slower technological progress and "further disrupt global systems." The way forward would be a multilateral network for science, technology and supply chains.

"Our paradigm that we are offering is overlapping circles of friends," Balakrishnan said.

The Biden administration last month expanded restrictions on China's access to semiconductor technology, raising concerns among Asian countries that count China as a major economic partner. South-east Asian countries, in particular Singapore, have become increasingly vocal over being made to choose between the competing powers.

China has said that the US has politicised technology, economic and trade issues, and its intention behind the "technology blockade and de-coupling" efforts is obvious.

While Balakrishnan acknowledged the US concern that advancements in critical technologies can transform foreign militaries and ultimately threaten US national security, Washington's latest controls amount to "all but a declaration of a technology war."

"The absence of strategic trust will lead both sides to always assume the worst," he said. This "will almost certainly lead to a mutually escalatory vicious downward spiral." BLOOMBERG

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