Role for trade bodies in leading changes in industry

Besides booze, some foods, such as certain flavours of ice-cream, also come under rules that ban alcohol sales after 10.30pm.

The rules could be made more flexible, suggested Ms Wong Peck Lin, co-founder of Udders Ice Cream, at a recent dialogue facilitated by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI).

Such feedback has led the authorities to look into an exemption for alcohol-containing food items that have a low chance of alcohol abuse, and the move could help businesses cut costs, said Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry yesterday.

He cited this as an example of how trade associations and chambers (TAC) can do more to lead industry transformation and engage with the Government to help create a pro-enterprise environment.

"We need to understand how our current rules need to improve to be able to support new business models, to understand where the pain points for businesses are, and also how we can help our enterprises reduce costs, improve productivity and be more competitive in the global market," he said at the 6th Trade Association Congress held by the SCCCI at the Trade Association Hub in Jurong. The chamber also held the inaugural Trade Association Hub Carnival, where 40 trade associations and government agencies set up booths to showcase ideas.

Mr Chee said collaborations between the Government, TACs and businesses, unions and workers lead to the greatest chance of success in transforming the economy.

"With such collaborations, what each individual actor can bring to the table can be multiplied throughout the entire business ecosystem."

It is important to have innovative, well-organised and able TACs in each sector, to champion industry consolidation, capability development and training, he added.

SCCCI, which has 5,000 corporate members and over 160 trade association members, chairs the Trade Association Committee and will continue with initiatives that bring trade groups together to share ideas.

SCCCI president Roland Ng said its role is to help the trade associations to boost their capabilities. For example, the chamber, with four trade associations, came up with a platform for them to adopt a common membership and event management system, instead of having to invest in technology on their own.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2018, with the headline 'Role for trade bodies in leading changes in industry'. Print Edition | Subscribe