China is now promoting globalization. But critics complained that many industries in China are still protected or are receiving govt subsidies.

Rather than complain about China, the other countries can also adopt the same approach, i.e. to protect some of their industries through tariffs and other measures.

The tariffs should be non-discriminatory, i.e. they should be applied to all countries. The intent is to protect the local industry and allow it to grow.

The tariffs increase the cost to consumers. There is nothing wrong with this approach. Consumption and sales tax, such as GST, also increase cost to consumers.

The higher cost to consumers caused by tariffs brings revenue to the govt. The govt needs revenue to provide social welfare for low income people and to provide essential services, such as health care, education and infrastructure to the people.

Some economists argue that tariffs allow the local manufacturers to make excessive profits. They cannot make the excessive profits because the country could raise the wages of workers and improve the working conditions. This will give better income to the workers, which will be good for the long term development of the country.

If the local businesses, through tariff protections, make more profit (and after paying more to the workers), the govt can take a share of their profit through taxation.

Under the current globalized system, it is difficult to get corporations to pay their share of tax because they can shift their profits to tax havens.

I am in favor of protectionism and tariffs as a way to put the global economy into a more sustainable path. It will help to improve wages and reduce inequality around the world.

Small countries, such as Singapore, will be adversely affected by a more protectionist world. We can find our niche in the new environment. As a small and well educated country, we should be able to make the adjustment. We must.

With protectionism, there will still be ample opportunity for world trade. Not every country wants to produce all of the products and services that they need. They would prefer to buy many of the products from other countries.

World trade will continue, but will be at a lower scale than now.

We need an open mind to address the challenges of the global economy and to reduce the gross inequality that exists in many countries, which is likely to cause more social unrests.

Tan Kin Lian