Singapore's supply chain resilience, IP regime key in drawing global investors: Chan Chun Sing

Singapore has remained open and connected throughout the coronavirus pandemic. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - With companies rethinking their supply chain footprint given the disruptions from the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore can capture opportunities to play a key role in more global supply networks and draw global investors.

Its openness, facilitation of the movement of goods on the strength of extensive trade agreements and its robust intellectual property (IP) regime can attract major multinational corporations (MNCs) to invest in Singapore, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Monday (April 26).

Speaking after a visit to 3M Singapore, Mr Chan said that supply chain resilience and IP protection have become much more important in MNCs' decisions to invest abroad.

The resilience of supply chains relies on a country's policies and openness for the flow of goods, as well as its connectivity with the rest of the world, Mr Chan explained.

Singapore has remained open and connected throughout the coronavirus pandemic, allowing manufacturers and distribution centres to export goods to global markets, he said.

Companies based in Singapore helped to fulfil global demand for essential goods such as pharmaceuticals and medical equipment when production capacities worldwide were disrupted at the start of the pandemic last year, the minister added. He cited how 3M was able to ensure a consistent supply of N95 respirators to healthcare workers in Singapore and the region.

Singapore, with its stable operating environment, robust regulatory and IP regime and respect for the rule of law, can also differentiate itself from other countries on its trust premium, he said.

"Increasingly, for many of the MNCs, the ability to secure their IP has become much more important than ever before," said Mr Chan.

He noted that Singapore's IP regime has helped to attract key investment projects, especially those dealing with high-value and knowledge-intensive products, as companies like 3M are assured that their proprietary products are protected.

The Republic will continue to strengthen its IP regime to give MNCs confidence to do business here, he added.

Intangible assets and IP management will be essential drivers of Singapore's future economy, and help it attract even more good investments which will create opportunities and jobs for Singaporeans, Mr Chan said.

The Singapore IP Strategy 2030, which was announced earlier on Monday, will be central to Singapore's efforts to support companies to build innovative capabilities, move up the value chain and capture new growth opportunities, he noted.

Mr Kevin McGuigan, managing director of 3M South-east Asia and country leader for Singapore, said: "Singapore continues to be one of 3M's strategic global manufacturing sites for respirators and other products."

The company has invested in advanced manufacturing operations to expand the production of respirators at its Tuas plant to ensure a consistent supply of respirators in Singapore and the region, he noted, adding that its continued expansion of operations and investment in production capabilities here underscores its long-term commitment to world-class manufacturing in Singapore.

Mr Chan said by assuring MNCs of supply chain resilience and IP protection, Singapore has been able to attract global leaders that create good quality jobs.

Mr Mark Ratzlaff (left), director of plant operations at 3M Asia's transportation and electronics business group, showing Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing the respirators manufactured at 3M's facility in Tuas. PHOTO: 3M SINGAPORE

He cited 3M which has a programme to develop talents to take on leadership roles, and how Mr Raymond Tan, director of manufacturing and supply chain in 3M's Asia centre of excellence, has risen up the ranks since joining the United States-headquartered company in 1991.

Mr Chan said that Singapore's strengths in maintaining the resilience of its supply chains and IP protection, as well as other factors like long-term political stability and consistency of policies, has allowed it to distinguish itself from the competition.

"If we continue to do this well, we are confident that Singapore will continue to attract new generations of investment to create new generations of better quality jobs for Singaporeans, and 3M is one of our good partners in this journey," he said.

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