SINGAPORE - Singapore will continue to be a trusted partner to global businesses, serving as a safe harbour for their capital, talent and intellectual property while offering long-term policy coherence and consistency, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.
In a keynote speech at the Nikkei Forum's Innovative Asia 2021 conference on Tuesday (March 16), he said Singapore understands that for stable long-term returns, policy consistency and business environment predictability are critical considerations for businesses investing abroad.
"This is the reason why Singapore will do its utmost to allow companies sited here to fulfil their international commercial obligations, never restricting exports for our benefit."
He noted that Singapore's diverse business ecosystem allows companies to easily and rapidly access complementary capabilities.
For businesses looking to accelerate innovation, there is a strong network of established companies and innovative start-ups which can provide a leg-up to firms based in Singapore, he added.
Noting the success of Singapore's investor-friendly policies, he said that despite the challenging business environment last year, the Republic attracted investment commitments exceeding $17 billion in fixed asset investments.
"These investments are a strong signal of confidence in Singapore amid an uncertain world that we will never take for granted and which we will seek to repay many times over."
Mr Chan also noted that the post-Covid world will bring with it various longer-term challenges and trends, some of which had been accentuated and accelerated by the pandemic.
In addition, geopolitical tensions have threatened to distort the proper functioning of our global economy, while technological advancements have disrupted many conventional business models, he said.
Demographics of the world are changing as well, with developed economies ageing rapidly and the population of emerging markets growing rapidly.
"This has serious implications on the pattern of consumption, production, investments, and consequently, trade flows. Economies and businesses need to carefully consider the evolving demographic dynamics," he said.
Mr Chan said the resilience of supply chains are also under threat.
"The insecurity of supply chains, perceived or not, has aggravated the protectionist tendencies in many countries."
Singapore understands the challenges and aspirations of global businesses, Mr Chan said, and offers a predictable, coherent and progressive business environment, to mobilise capital in a trusted system, aggregate talent in an open system and protect intellectual property in a transparent and fair legal system.
The Republic offers a connected environment with the widest free trade and digital economy agreements network to mitigate the risk of a bifurcated or fragmented world, he said.