The Minister of Trade and Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing spoke at the annual Singapore Economic Policy Forum, highlighting upcoming challenges and strategies in ensuring a successful economic future. The challenges faced are both external and internal, and they include:

  1. the current global trade conflict (Read TKL’s previous article on trade war here);
  2. technological disruptions affecting production chains;
  3. changing business models due to the new digital economy;
  4. different growth trajectories amongst sectors;
  5. labour and land constraints

Along with these challenges, there are also significant opportunities for Singapore such as understanding our relevance in the rapidly growing Asian economies, capitalizing on the emergence of new technologies, and the ability to grow beyond our physical constraints with more dimensions of connectivity.  

Read the full article on Channel NewsAsia: Singapore economy faces challenges, but significant opportunities also present: Chan Chun Sing

Read the full speech on Ministry of Trade and Industry: Speech by Minister Chan at the 11th Singapore Economic Policy Forum

Analysis:

As a small economy, Singapore is dependent on global trade, and external forces have impacts on our economic growth. Maintaining good relationships with our neighbours and allies is one of the ways for Singapore to remain relevant in the global arena. How exactly have we been doing so? We have built our competitive advantage around trust and standards.

When businesses choose to set up their offices here, they can be assured that the established rule of law will provide them with the rights to seek recourse and dispute settlement. There are also high standards of products and services that come through Singapore. The regulated and stable environment, together with extensive connectivity to resources, promotes trust from global business. For instance, the main reason that Dyson recently decided to set up its electric car plant in Singapore is the benefit of having access to markets and expertise, despite the relatively high cost base.  

 Being able to offer value to businesses to choose Singapore is important in creating jobs for the population. Competition and challenges should drive us to innovate processes and renew ourselves to stay relevant.

Questions for further personal evaluation:

  1. What would happen if Singapore loses its relevance?
  2. How else can Singapore remain competitive to the rest of the world?

Useful vocabulary:

  1. ‘nativist politics’: the political idea that people who were born in a country are more important than immigrants

Picture credits:https://unsplash.com/photos/7ryPpZK1qV8

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