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Opening Keynote Address by Minister Gan Kim Yong at the FT Commodities Asia Summit 2022

Opening Keynote Address by Minister Gan Kim Yong at the FT Commodities Asia Summit 2022

Distinguished Guests,                                                                   

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

1. Good morning!

 

2. It is my pleasure to join you today at the Financial Times Commodities Asia Summit 2022. This is the third edition which Financial Times is organising in collaboration with Enterprise Singapore. When I spoke at last year’s event, it was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am happy to meet you again today in-person, and I am pleased to see the strong turnout this year.

 

Introduction – Changing Tides

 

3. The global landscape is changing and we are facing unprecedented uncertainty and headwinds: intense geopolitical tensions; pressures from rising energy and food prices; and the climate crisis. We can all sense the pressures in recent times.

 

4. This year’s theme – “Changing Tides” – is most apt. Despite all the uncertainties, I am confident that we will be able to adapt and seize the new opportunities that emerge. We launched the Singapore Economy 2030 vision this year, which aims to grow our exports to S$1 trillion by 2030 and double our offshore trade value to over US$2 trillion.

 

5. As we journey towards this objective, we will further deepen our partnership with you and strengthen our position as your trading hub of choice. Let me focus on three key aspects of Singapore’s offer: Connectivity, Sustainability, and Capability.

 

Connectivity

 

6. First, we will continue to strengthen our global networks, while pioneering new forms of connectivity.

 

a. We have developed an excellent infrastructure ecosystem over the years, and we will invest even more to enhance our air and sea connectivity.

 

i. We will shortly begin the construction of a fifth terminal (T5) for Changi Airport, which will be as big as all four present terminals combined. When fully operational in the mid-2030s, T5 will add capacity for over 50 million passengers annually and increase cargo handling capacity from 3 million tonnes to 5.4 million tonnes annually.

 

ii. The first phase of the Tuas Mega Port was opened in September this year and is expected to be the world’s biggest fully automated port. When completed, it will have a handling capacity of 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 30 percent increase from our current capacity.

 

b. Companies can also leverage Singapore’s extensive network of 27 free trade agreements (FTAs), which gives greater access to a wide range of markets. We are also deepening our existing partnerships through new initiatives such as digital and green economy agreements. For example, we recently signed the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA) and Singapore-Australia Green Economy Agreement (SAGEA), which are pathfinders to pioneer common rules and standards, as well as to promote cross-border digital and green activities.

 

7. Our efforts are bearing fruit. I am pleased to note that we have attracted a diverse mix of global traders to anchor key business activities in Singapore. Singapore’s extensive trader community will allow you to develop more resilient and versatile supply chains, and mitigate disruption risks. Allow me to welcome two new traders to Singapore, adding to our ecosystem of over 400 international traders.

 

a. Cocoasource, a Swiss commodity trading company, is expanding its rubber trading activities and has chosen Singapore as its principal rubber trading hub just last year.

 

b. Sucden, a French soft commodities trading company, has established its APAC HQ and new trading division for Grains and Oilseeds in Singapore this year.

 

Sustainability

 

8. Second, we will focus on sustainable development as we transition to a low-carbon economy and reach net zero by 2050. We understand that this journey may be challenging, but we will journey with you and support you along the way in your green transition.

 

a. For example, we have introduced several schemes including the Resource Efficiency Grant for Emissions and the Energy Efficiency Fund, as well as the Enterprise Sustainability Programme. Under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Plan, we will invest around S$370 million in decarbonisation solutions from 2020 to 2025.

 

b. We recently unveiled our National Hydrogen Strategy to develop hydrogen as a major decarbonisation pathway for hard-to-abate sectors such as power generation, marine, and industrial sectors.

 

c. Together with industry players, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore formed the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) to support the maritime industry in their green journey.

 

9. We are stepping up efforts to strengthen our carbon markets and services, which is a fast-growing segment of the green economy.

 

a. Today, Singapore is home to over 70 organisations engaged in carbon trading and carbon services – the highest in Southeast Asia.

 

b. Together with the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and World Bank, Singapore will launch the Climate Action Data Trust (CAD Trust) in December, which will reduce the risk of double counting, foster transparency and confidence in the carbon market.

 

10. I am pleased to note that our companies are also ready to tap into emerging opportunities in the biofuels sector. Singapore serves as an excellent location for the refining and trading of biofuels and their raw components. We also have a large growing pool of agri-commodities players that can partner energy companies seeking feedstock for biofuel needs.

 

a. For example, local company Apeiron Bioenergy has transformed from a trader of renewable feedstock to a vertically-integrated bioenergy supplier. It has a network of facilities and refineries across 10 countries to collect and process used cooking oil into biofuel.

 

b. With Asia set to supplant European biofuel production by 2026, many energy companies such as Cepsa, Vitol, and TotalEnergies, are dedicating new teams to grow their biofuels business here.

 

Capability

 

11. Third, we will develop a strong pipeline of local talent that can meet industry needs.

 

a. For example, we are collaborating with seven global trading companies on an LNG Industry Leadership Development Initiative to groom fresh graduates and young working professionals into LNG traders through skills development, on-the-job training, and overseas attachments.

 

b. We are also working with the trading community to offer scholarships to undergraduates under the Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS) programme from 2023.

 

c. I am heartened to note that companies too have taken the initiative themselves to support talent development.

 

i. Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) Group has established a trade and sustainability award to sponsor over 100 students from NTU and SMU for scholarships and overseas internships, which will allow the students to gain valuable exposure to sustainability initiatives and take on sustainability-related roles in future.

 

12. Even as we grow our local talent pool, we will also need global talents to complement our workforce. We introduced the Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass (ONEPass) and announced targeted enhancements to our work pass framework, which you can tap on to bring in your top talents and professionals in areas of skills shortage, so that we can continue growing and creating new opportunities together in this region.

 

Conclusion

 

13. As one of the world’s leading business and transport hubs located in the most economically dynamic region of the world, Singapore can offer your business a strong platform to catch the rising tide and seize the growth opportunities in the region.

 

14. I would like to thank Financial Times and Enterprise Singapore for organising this event. I wish all participants a fruitful conference.

 

15. Thank you.

 

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