Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what has been the impact of the current US-China trade tensions on Singapore-owned companies operating in either China or the US; and (b) what is likely to be the impact of these trade tensions on these companies' domestic operations.
1. Our economic agencies have been engaging our companies closely. Generally, Singapore companies operating in the US or China have told us that they have not been significantly affected by the US-China tensions, either in their operations overseas or in Singapore. Their responses to the ongoing trade tensions have also been mixed – some companies are putting their investments on hold until there is greater clarity, while others are actively looking to diversify their businesses across different regions. In short, our companies are adopting a range of measures.
2. The US-China trade tensions are not the only cause of the present slowdown. We are also experiencing the downswing in the global electronics cycle, which has affected externally-oriented sectors like wholesale trade and precision engineering. As I had shared with the House last month, the Government is closely monitoring the situation, and will provide support to the companies where needed.
3. Even as we weather our immediate challenges, we must maintain a steady course for the long-term. We must continue to transform our economy, by implementing the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs), and investing in new capabilities such as digital and technology. We must also raise the productivity of our workers through SkillsFuture and continuous learning. By working together and investing for the future, we will emerge stronger from the present storm.