Next STEP Global Conference 2023

The economic dilemma: Reconstructing ties in a fragmenting world


November 5, 5:30 AM EST to November 7, 2023, 2:00 AM EST
Singapore (November 5, 2023 6:30 PM SGT to November 7, 2023 3:00 PM SGT) Times subject to change

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

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 are convening the third annual Next STEP Global Conference on November 5–7, 2023, in Singapore.

This year's conference will focus 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 are inviting 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. We will 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.

Please check back on this page later for more information.


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.