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Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing at the press conference for the sectoral company visit to 3M Innovation Centre

Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing at the press conference for the sectoral company visit to 3M Innovation Centre

1.     Good afternoon to all of you, thank you for being here.

2.    3M is one of the multinational companies that has been in Singapore for many years. Over the years, it has groomed an entire generation of workers skilled in various dimensions from business development to production and engineering.

3.    I wanted to come to 3M today to understand how the pandemic, and also more recently, the technological developments and geopolitical developments, have shaped their decisions on areas such as the global layout of their production, ecosystem, as well as the resilience of their global supply chain.

4.    From this, we can see how Singapore can continue to be relevant to the major multinational corporations (MNCs) from around the world to attract them to plant their investments in Singapore, and create better quality jobs for Singaporeans. Our competitive advantages lie in our political stability, our skilled workforce, our coherence and consistency of policies.

5.    These are the basic reasons that many of the multinationals have chosen to invest in Singapore over all these years. Many of these reasons continue to remain valid and we must continue to build upon them.

6.    In more recent years, two factors have become more important for MNCs such as 3M in their decision-making on where they decide to invest and create jobs for the next generation.

7.    The two factors are essentially intellectual property protection and supply chain resilience.

8.    The first factor is intellectual property protection.

9.    Today, coincidentally, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ms Indranee Rajah, launched our strategy on enhancing the intellectual property protection regime in Singapore (Singapore Intellectual Property Strategy 2030 Masterplan).

10.    For many of the MNCs, the ability to secure their intellectual property has become increasingly important. If we compare the kind of investments that they put in any particular place between the past and present, the intellectual property content has become much bigger in the overall portfolio.

11.    Many MNCs like 3M are very focused on intellectual property protection, and that is one of the reasons why they have the confidence to continue putting their investments in Singapore, because of our intellectual property regime. We will continue to strengthen our intellectual property regime to give confidence to MNCs to do their business in Singapore, and from Singapore.

12.    The second factor is supply chain resilience.

13.    Even prior to the pandemic, many people were already concerned with supply chain resilience because of the geopolitical issues that we have seen. But since COVID-19, the focus on supply chain has intensified and there are two reasons for this.

14.    The first has to do with policies. Whether countries adopt an open border policy to allow companies that have made the investment here to continue to access the supply chains from other countries, and more importantly, to allow them to continue to fulfil their commercial obligations to many other countries, even in a crisis. So, the policy part is one key factor of supply chain resilience.

15.    The second key factor in determining the supply chain resilience of a company's operations has to do with the ability to connect with the rest of the world, even in the midst of a crisis. This includes the physical dimensions of our air, land and sea connectivity. It also includes the non-physical dimensions of our data and financial connectivity with the rest of the world.

16.    Through this pandemic, these two factors have come up strongly in many of the MNCs calculations on where they are going to put their investments going forward.

17.    These factors put us in good stead, because Singapore is committed to making sure that we will continue to maintain the openness of our borders for companies to access their supply chains beyond Singapore, and to make sure that they have the ability to fulfil their commercial obligations beyond Singapore.

18.    If we look at some of the recent investments such as the Sanofi vaccine plant and others, many of them come here not because of our domestic market. Many of them come here because our policies allow them to service the regional and global markets and our laws protect their intellectual property., That is how we attracted them so as to create better jobs for the next generation of Singaporeans.

19.    Likewise, during the pandemic itself, we spared no effort to maintaining the links from Changi Airport, and also our seaports, which has since strengthened our position as a regional hub. This also strengthens our position and competitiveness in terms of how we are able to attract new generation of investments coming into Singapore.

20.    In conclusion, 3M is a very good example of how the Economic Development Board (EDB), together with other economic agencies, have partnered MNCs to strengthen our supply chain resilience through proactive policies to keep our borders open, even during a crisis.

21.    These policies in turn maintained our supply chain resilience in the physical and non-physical dimensions. Coupled with the intellectual property protection, long-term political stability, the skilled workforce, and the consistency and coherence of policies, these factors have allowed us to distinguish ourselves from the competition.

22.    If we continue to do this, we are confident that Singapore will continue to attract new investments which will create better quality jobs for next generations of Singaporeans.

23.    I am happy to note that 3M is one of our good partners in this journey.

24.    Thank you.

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