Singapore remains trusted partner to global firms, says Chan

Singapore will remain a trusted partner to global businesses, serving as a safe harbour for their capital, talent and intellectual property, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

In a keynote speech at the Nikkei Forum's Innovative Asia 2021 conference yesterday, 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 told the conference held at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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 that can provide a leg-up to firms based in Singapore, the minister 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 said that the post-Covid-19 world will bring with it various longer-term challenges and trends, some of which have 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 added.

The 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," Mr Chan said.

He added that the resilience of supply chains is also under threat.

"The insecurity of supply chains, whether it is 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 added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2021, with the headline 'Singapore remains trusted partner to global firms, says Chan'. Subscribe