Singapore— The country’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing warned of the “negative spillover impact” that Singapore and other countries in the region will experience if the protests that have disrupted Hong Kong over the past 13 weeks continues to go on.
Because of the close investment and trade ties between the two cities, this makes a negative effect on Singapore’s economy likely, he said, specifically for companies that depend strongly on Hong Kong.
Hong Kong was Singapore’s fifth biggest trading partner in 2018, as well as the fourth biggest venue for investments by the end of 2017, he added.
Furthermore, the Trade and Industry Ministry said that trade between Hong Kong and Singapore accounts for approximately 1.2 percent of Singapore’s gross domestic product in 2018.
Since June, protests against a controversial extradition law have become increasingly more violent. Just last Monday, September 2, university students boycotted the first day of the new school year, choosing to take to the streets with the five demands that demonstrators have been pushing for.
Mr Chan said, “Some Singapore businesses with operations in the lifestyle and retail sectors in Hong Kong have been more directly affected.”
Yahoo Singapore reports that BreadTalk Group, under whose umbrella are popular eateries BreadTalk, Toast Box and Food Republic, reported a loss of 20 to 40 percent in sales.
Retail sales have also fallen by some 11.4 percent in July, marking six months in a row of declining sales.
Mr Chan said that Singapore may feel the effect in the longer term. “If the current situation in Hong Kong persists and adds to global economic uncertainty, investor confidence will likely be adversely affected.
This will in turn weigh on investments and economic activities in the region. With increased uncertainty, the impact on Singapore’s economy is likely to be larger.”
However, breaking news on September 4, Wednesday, announced that Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has fully withdrawn the contentious extradition bill.
The bill had been suspended on June 1, which did not satisfy the protesters, who asked for it to be withdrawn completely.
Ms Lam said in a televised address that the government would “formally withdraw the bill in order to fully allay public concerns.”
“After more than two months of social unrest it is obvious to many that discontentment extends far beyond the bill. It covers political, economic and social issues,” she added.
However, the bill is only one of 5 key demands, and for some activists its too little, too late.
Activist Joshua Wong tweeted, Initial response to Carrie Lam:
1.Too little and too late now — Carrie Lam’s response comes after seven lives sacrificed, more than 1,200 protestors arrested, in which many are mistreated in police station.
2. The intensified police brutality in the previous weeks have left an irreversible scar to the entire HK society. And therefore, at this very moment, when Carrie Lam announced withdrawal, people would not believe it is a ‘sincere’ move.
3. Instead, HK people are well-aware of her notorious track record. Whenever there are signs of sending a palm branch, they always come with a far tighter grip on exercising civil rights. Earlier today Ronny Tong has already advised using secret police.
4. We urge the world too to alert this tactic and not to be deceived by HK and Beijing Govt. They have conceded nothing in fact, and a full-scale clampdown is on the way.
5. In short, Carrie Lam’s repeated failure in understanding the situation has made this announcement completely out of touch – She needs to address to ALL Five Demands: STOP PROSECUTION, STOP CALLING US RIOTERS, INDEPENDENT INQUIRY OF POLICE and FREE ELECTION! -/TISG