Strong confidence in Singapore amid business challenges due to pandemic: Chan Chun Sing

Nicholas Yong
·Assistant News Editor
·2 min read
Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing delivers the keynote speech at the Nikkei Forum Innovative Asia on Tuesday, 16 March 2021. (PHOTO: Nicholas Yong/Yahoo News Singapore)
Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing delivers the keynote speech at the Nikkei Forum Innovative Asia on Tuesday, 16 March 2021. (PHOTO: Nicholas Yong/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — There is a "strong signal of confidence in Singapore" amid numerous business challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (16 March).

Singapore attracted $17.2 billion of commitments in fixed asset investments in 2020, with Japan contributing more than 6 per cent. In recent years, companies like Google, Nestle, Philips and others have built on their regional HQ presence to set up multiple functions in Singapore, Chan said.

Last August, Kajima, an engineering, procurement and construction player, broke ground for its integrated HQ and R&D campus in Singapore. The $100 million Kajima Global Hub will serve as Kajima’s Asia Pacific headquarters and its first overseas innovation centre.

Chan was delivering the keynote speech at the Nikkei Forum Innovative Asia 2021, a hybrid event held at Suntec City with just eight tables of attendees, and which was also live-streamed.

He addressed the issue of how countries can emerge stronger from COVID-19. He noted that the global economy had already been disrupted by geopolitical tensions and technological advancements, and the pandemic has accelerated these trends.

And while the insecurity of supply chains has aggravated the protectionist tendencies in many countries, it is open and connected trade that will ease the situation. "We need to better appreciate that we are in this together. We will be in longer and deeper trouble when we practise beggar-thy-neighbour policies."

Chan pledged that Singapore will work with like-minded countries to keep global supply chains working and resist protectionist pressures. It will work with countries like Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Chile to break new ground for digital connectivity and data flows to enable the next lap of economic growth.

"In a time of global uncertainty, we will distinguish ourselves by being a trusted partner, providing a safe harbour for capital, talent and intellectual property, while offering long-term policy coherence and consistency," said the 51-year-old.

Policy consistency and business environment predictability, said Chan, are critical considerations for businesses that want stable long-term returns.

And as trust becomes even more important with increased geopolitical uncertainties, "Singapore will do our utmost, even in the depth of the COVID-19 pandemic, to allow companies sited here to fulfil their international commercial obligations, never restricting exports for our benefit but to the detriment of others."

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