Monday, November 19, 2007

Price for defending Myanmar

Damm if you do, damm if you don't. I have written several times already on why I support Singapore's decision not to join in the talks for sanctions against Myanmar. Like most Singaporeans, money counts and Singapore has a lot of money invested in Myanmar at the moment.

However defending Myanmar against world opinion has a price as it shows now. The United States has criticised the ASEAN group of Southeast Asian nations over the handling of Myanmar and a free trade deal between Washington and the ASEAN is now unlikely because "ASEAN credibility" had been called into question. This is just a few weeks after The United States had expanded its sanctions against Myanmar. Things are so bad free trade talks between ASEAN and the European Union could also stall. Together, the United States and EU account for 27 percent of ASEAN's exports and a third of its inward direct investment.

It seems that the U.S and EU has hit on something here. In Singapore, money is king and between the West or Myanmar; the choice is clear. We will (and should) dump Myanmar in a moment notice if they hurt our business with the West.

Say what you will, I'm a Singaporean and I'm practical.

No comments: