SIIA Chairman Simon Tay recently spoke at the APEC CEO Summit in a panel about the economic dynamism of the Asia-Pacific and the global economy. Some of his remarks featured in a recent article by the AFP.
In his remarks, Mr Tay focused on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a starting point for a potential free trade agreement for the Asia-Pacific. The TPP currently includes four members (Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore) but is in negotiations with five others, including the United States.
At this year's APEC, Japan discussed the possibility of it joining the grouping. However, Mr Tay tempered expectations, and was quoted in the AFP article as saying:
Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said Japan would benefit from joining TPP but that the government should only act when it has domestic consensus and is fully committed.
"Now with America on board, the negotiations since last year have already been very lively and now nine countries are on board," Tay said.
"Frankly it's still quite a small raft and America is already a very large person. The last thing we actually need now for the negotiations to be progressive is for Japan to also come on board and sort of wobble, because of agriculture and other issues.
"To get them on board -- when they are uncertain -- too quickly would actually ruin the TPP for the rest of us."