A new training programme which will equip mid-career professionals with skills for the wholesale trade sector will be rolled out this year.
It will come on top of other measures aimed at boosting Singapore's role as a trading hub, including moves to beef up trade finance capabilities, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran yesterday. He was speaking at the Global Trader Dialogue, a gathering of leaders in the global commodities trading community, at Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall yesterday.
Mr Iswaran said last year was a challenging one for the global trading community, as commodity prices plunged and demand from emerging markets slowed. Despite these challenges, the trading community here remains resilient, he noted. Most of the world's largest commodity traders are located in Singapore, generating close to US$1 trillion (S$1.35 trillion) in turnover last year.
The past year also saw many firms grow their footprint here - for instance, Shandong Dongming, the largest independent refiner in China, chose Singapore as its international crude procurement centre. Meanwhile, Lafarge Holcim, one of the world's largest traders of building materials, has announced the consolidation of its Asian trading base and global shipping arm in Singapore.
The Republic's role as a trading hub and its world-class commodities storage facilities mean it is well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities in expanding Asian markets, Mr Iswaran said.
To strengthen Singapore's trade finance capabilities, trade agency IE Singapore is working with the industry to grow the volume and sophistication of structured commodity financing activities, he added.
These activities allow trading companies to access liquidity and risk management solutions that banks might not traditionally offer.
Besides access to financing, the Government is also looking to build up the trading sector's talent pool.
IE Singapore has collaborated with the International Chamber of Commerce Academy, the local universities and the polytechnics to launch various talent programmes in recent years, said Mr Iswaran.
More details will be released in the second half of the year on the programme for mid-career professionals, which will equip people with the relevant skillsets and competencies to take up good jobs in the wholesale trade sector, the minister said.