16 June 2004


Economic prospects look healthy although challenges remain

Singapore’s immediate economic outlook is healthy thanks to improvements in the external environment in recent months and to Singapore’s sound macroeconomic policies as well as its openness to international trade and investment. As a result, growth is expected to pick up in 2004 according to a report on the trade policies and practices of Singapore released on June 16 by the WTO Secretariat.

Singapore, nevertheless, faces several longer-term challenges, including a recent lack of growth in total factor productivity (TFP) and more intense competition from low-cost regional producers, resulting in structural changes and declining employment, especially in manufacturing.

Although linked to the importance of external demand, the decline in TFP (and associated decline in capital productivity) raises concerns regarding Singapore’s active industrial policy. The Government has taken steps to reduce business costs and is gradually redefining its role in the economy, including by divesting some non-strategic public sector companies. It is also planning to introduce an economy-wide competition law and is continuing its liberalization of key services and utilities. The reforms should increase competition in the economy and thus efficiency, thereby strengthening the resilience of the Singapore economy in dealing with these challenges.

The WTO report, along with a policy statement by the Government of Singapore, will be the basis for the fourth Trade Policy Review (TPR) of Singapore by the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO on 14 and 16 June 2004.

The following documents are available in MS Word format.


Note  back to top

Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored. For each review, two documents are prepared: a policy statement by the government of the member under review, and a detailed report written independently by the WTO Secretariat. These two documents are then discussed by the WTO’s full membership in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB). These documents and the proceedings of the TPRB’s meetings are published shortly afterwards.

Print copies of previous TPR publications are available for sale from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, 1211 Genève 21 and through the on-line bookshop.

The TPR publications are also available from our co-publisher Bernan Press, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham, MD 20706-4391, United States.


Schedule of forthcoming reviews  back to top

Benin/Burkina Faso/Mali: 28 and 30 June 2004
Belize/Suriname: 12 and 14 July 2004
European Union: 21 and 23 July 2004