3 levels of assurance needed before World Economic Forum meeting can be held in Singapore: Chan Chun Sing

The WEF had announced on Dec 7 its decision to move the annual forum from Switzerland to Singapore.
The WEF had announced on Dec 7 its decision to move the annual forum from Switzerland to Singapore.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - The Republic will put in place three levels of reassurances when the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting is held here next year, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Wednesday morning (Dec 9).

First, Singaporeans, especially those who may interact with participants, will need to be assured that the meeting can be conducted safely with visitors entering the country.

Next, participants across countries must also feel safe mingling with one another.

The third level of assurance is that those attending the meeting must also be given a clean bill of health before they go back to their own countries or onwards to other places, so that there will be no misunderstanding that anyone contracted the virus in Singapore while they were here, Mr Chan said.

He was speaking to reporters on Wednesday on the sidelines of a media visit to Siemens Advance Manufacturing Transformation Centre in Tuas, where he met trainees of the additive-manufacturing training course under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme.


Mr Chan Chun Sing speaks to attendees of the additive-manufacturing training course during a tour of Siemens AMTC on Dec 9. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The WEF had announced on Monday its decision to move the annual forum from Switzerland to Singapore. The meeting next May will see top political, business and academic leaders gather to discuss pressing global issues.

This will be WEF's second time holding its meeting outside of Switzerland since it began in 1971, and the first time it will be held in Asia.

The 2002 edition was held in New York to show solidarity with the United States and the people of the city after the Sept 11 terror attacks the year before.

The WEF had said it decided Singapore was best placed to host the meeting in the light of the current Covid-19 situation worldwide.

Mr Chan said that if participants can be assured that people from different countries can meet here safely, Singapore will have a competitive advantage.

"If people from both country A and B can come to Singapore safely, then we have a competitive advantage.

"This is going to be a demonstration of how we are able to conduct such high-level meetings in a way that provides the necessary health assurances to participants from different countries, that this is a safe place for them to be."

But the minister stressed that Singapore should not "get too far ahead of ourselves at this point in time".

"When WEF chose Singapore, it was a statement of their confidence in our ability to manage the situation now and over the next few months. But having said that, we shouldn't be complacent.

"We must stay very focused and get the job done well - we must make sure that we contain the virus, manage the numbers to keep them as low as possible, to give assurance to ourselves and to the guests that will be coming."

He added that the Republic is in discussion with WEF on logistical details that need to be worked out.

LISTEN TO THE BIG STORY PODCAST