The US government imposed a round of tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this year in response to what it believes are unfair trade practices on the part of China, sparking off tit-for-tat retaliatory measures between the two economic superpowers. More recently, the US government rejected a list of trade concessions offered by China, suggesting that any resolution to the escalating trade war may not be likely in the near future. Meanwhile, the planned date for increased tariffs on Chinese goods from 10% to 25% – 1 January 2019 – is drawing closer. Other countries have not been spared either, with tariffs on aluminium, steel and other items imposed on the US’ trading partners. In response, the European Union also hit back with its own set of tariffs.
Singapore is not above the fray, and in addition to direct impact from tariffs imposed on a number of Singapore’s exports, Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing warned in July this year that our trade-dependent economy would likely also suffer from global supply chain disruptions and an overall slowdown in global trade.
As tensions increase, what are the possible implications for Singapore? What steps can be taken by the government and private companies to minimise the trade war’s impact on businesses and consumers?