Next STEP Global Conference 2023

The economic dilemma: Reconstructing ties in a fragmenting world


November 5, 5:30 AM EST to November 7, 2023, 4:30 AM EST
Singapore (November 5, 2023 6:30 PM SGT to November 7, 2023 4:30 PM SGT)

Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP)


Keynote Remarks

Sunday November 5, 2023, 6:30 AM EST

Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore
followed by an onstage discussion moderated by Adam S. Posen, President, PIIE

Opening Remarks and Discussion

Sunday November 5, 2023, 8:00 PM EST

Zhang Xiangchen, Deputy-Director General, World Trade Organization
with Adam S. Posen, President, PIIE; and Danny Quah, Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics, LKYSPP, NUS

Closing Fireside Chat

Tuesday November 7, 2023, 2:00 AM EST

Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore,
on "Responses to Geo-Economic Fragmentation"
with Adam S. Posen, President, PIIE


Event Summary

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) at the National University of Singapore convened the third annual Next STEP Global Conference on November 5–7, 2023, in Singapore.

This year's conference focuses on how the intensification of US-China competition has put much of the world in a bind. Economies caught in the middle–those that do not count themselves among the G7 plus China–contain 80 percent of the world's population and are participants in the vast majority of cross-national transactions. Their interests are at stake, but how should they proceed when the two biggest economic players are at odds?  Can their coming together independently of the great powers save global commerce for themselves and the world, or even encourage a return to more responsible behavior by the Chinese and US governments?

Coordination, let alone collective action, is difficult. Chinese, American, and now European efforts to de-risk their supply chains and their sourcing of critical materials present opportunities and threats simultaneously for the rest of the world on a nation-by-nation basis. While the US and Chinese governments have recently said that they will not compel third countries to choose sides, they proffer a large and increasing number of sticks, rather than carrots, and exclusive membership organizations (like the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity and the New Development Bank) encouraging just such a choice.  Furthermore, standstills on the most pressing global issues for the rest of the world (like climate and debt distress) are the result of the China-US deadlock, which choosing sides will not help address.

Economically vibrant third countries, including Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea, once had a more straightforward and rewarding arc in the world economy.  Multilateralism, together with international law and a system of reasonably impartial adjudication, provided a level playing field where small and large countries engaged with one another on a more equal footing. This was true in economic trade as in other domains important to the well-being of each nation, and it allowed for deepening economic integration on an open voluntary basis.  This is being lost amid the China-US conflict, and prosperity may well go with it.

To address this challenge to the global economic landscape, LKYSPP and PIIE invited high-level economic thought leaders—including policymakers, global business leaders, investors, scholars, and innovators—to freely, frankly, and constructively build on Next STEP 2022's pathbreaking real-world discussions of the rise of techno-nationalism. Participants address the economic dilemma of how to reconstruct economic ties in a fragmenting world—this requires formulating and advancing specific policy proposals for third countries to reshape and maintain constructive international economic integration, and for what they can feasibly encourage the United States and China to do together.

Several sessions from the conference are available for viewing on this page.

Discussion topics

  • The multi-speed, multi-approach climate economy
  • Follow the flow: governance models for digital payment infrastructure, cross-border transactions, mobile money
  • Who, what, where: export controls and outbound investment
  • Creating resilient supply chains: reshoring, diversification, and derisking
  • Winners and losers in the subsidy races
  • The future of the CPTPP
  • Rock solid: frameworks for resource management in the quest for critical minerals
  • Preparing for the next pandemic: lessons from COVID-19 for global public health and coordinating institutions

Speaker list


Adam S. Posen
President, Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE)

Danny Quah
Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) at the National University of Singapore

Keynote speech:

Gan Kim Yong
Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore

Opening session:

Zhang Xiangchen
Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization

Closing session:

Ravi Menon
Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore


Caroline Atkinson
Senior Advisor, Rock Creek; Executive Committee, PIIE; former Head, Global Policy, Google; former Deputy National Security Adviser, International Economics, Obama Administration; Trustee of the IISS and Member of the Advisory Council, IISS

Muhamad Chatib Basri
Co-Chair of the Pandemic Fund, World Bank; former Minister of Finance of Indonesia; former Chairman of the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board

Lee Branstetter
Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

Martin Chorzempa
Senior Fellow, PIIE

Kimberly Clausing
Nonresident Senior Fellow, PIIE; Eric M. Zolt Chair in Tax Law and Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles; former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis in the US Department of the Treasury, Biden administration

Manoj Dugar
Managing Director, Regional Co-Head, Global Payments Solutions, HSBC

Barry Eichengreen
George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley; Board of Directors, PIIE

Peter Harrell
Former Senior Director for International Economics and Competitiveness, White House National Security Council, Biden Administration

Tianlei Huang
Research Fellow and China Program Coordinator, PIIE

Cullen Hendrix
Senior Fellow, PIIE

Merit Janow
Dean and Professor of Professional Practice, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
Nonresident Senior Fellow, PIIE; Resident Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States

Chin-Tong Liew
Deputy Minister, Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Government of Malaysia

Mary E. Lovely
Anthony M. Solomon Senior Fellow, PIIE

Mari Pangestu
Former Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank; former Minister of Trade, Indonesia; former Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia

Stephanie Rickard
Professor of Political Science, Department of Government, London School of Economics

Chea Serey
Governor, Central Bank of Cambodia

Jeffrey J. Schott
Senior Fellow, PIIE

Anil Sooklal
BRICS Sherpa, South Africa

Yeling Tan
Nonresident Senior Fellow, PIIE; Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon

Catherine Wolfram
William F. Pounds Professor of Energy Economics and Professor of Applied Economics, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate and Energy Economics in the US Department of the Treasury, Biden Administration

Qiyuan Xu
Deputy Director, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Yeo Han-koo
Senior Fellow, PIIE, former Minister for Trade, Republic of Korea

Yoo Myung-hee
Former Minister for Trade, Republic of Korea



About This Series

The Next STEP (Solutions to Economic Problems) Global Conference was launched in 2021 by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore as a series of annual global dialogues where invited leaders address challenges to human well-being arising from economic instability, insecurity, and exclusion. The sessions are aimed at producing actionable, effective, and sustainable solutions that can be adopted by national governments and international institutions.