Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry amidst greater trade tensions and shortening of supply chains, what are the Ministry's plans to enhance Singapore's position as a regional trade hub.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade & Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing
1. Singapore’s positioning to be a critical node in the global system has not changed, amidst trade tensions and reconfiguration of supply chains. To achieve this, we must continue to position Singapore as the preferred business hub by adding value to businesses that trade with Singapore, trade through Singapore, and trade from Singapore.
2. First, Singapore must build on our reliability as a trusted node. We will continue to remain open for business to facilitate the flow of goods and essential business travel. Singapore’s ports have stayed open throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We are working to establish travel arrangements with more countries to progressively enable greater air travel, while ensuring public health and safety are upheld. Singapore will continue working with our trading partners to foster greater global and regional integration, and reduce impediments to the flow of goods across borders. For example, Singapore is working with other ASEAN Member States to streamline non-tariff measures on essential goods such as food and medical supplies. Greater global emphasis on resilient supply chains brings opportunity too. Companies will want to diversify their sourcing and production. Some will look to South-East Asia, which will benefit Singapore’s businesses and other trade-related services.
3. Second, we will continue to strengthen Singapore’s physical and digital connectivity. Our efforts to enhance our air and sea ports’ connections are complemented by efforts on digital connectivity, such as the digitalPORT@SG initiative, which is a one-stop portal for maritime regulatory and port services transactions. We have also embarked on new generation Digital Economy Agreements with countries such as Australia, Chile and New Zealand that will help firms to interoperate more seamlessly and efficiently in the digital economy. Physical connectivity allows businesses to trade through Singapore, while digital connectivity will enable businesses to transcend geographical boundaries and trade from Singapore by capturing value from trade flows that do not physically pass through Singapore.
4. Thirdly, we will continue to focus on innovation, digitalisation, improving productivity, upskilling our workers, and building core capabilities that are difficult to replace. These are fundamentals which underpin our competitiveness, and ensure that Singapore continues to the preferred business hub of Asia by adding value to businesses that trade with Singapore, trade through Singapore, and trade from Singapore.