Singapore

To stay ahead of competition, Singapore has two critical tasks: Chan

To stay ahead of competition in the next stage of its economic development, Singapore has two critical tasks at hand, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.

One, it has to rally people to action by being upfront about the challenges, continuously guarding against complacency, and developing a nation of people and businesses who are not afraid of global competition but seek to thrive in it.

"We must assume that we can easily be overtaken by others who are hungrier, and who can leapfrog us," he said, noting this has happened to some areas in Information & Communications Technology, finance and advanced manufacturing.

"We will not just play defensive to try to get back to where we were. Instead, we are constantly challenging ourselves to come up with new ideas and value propositions to capture new markets ahead of others amidst the pandemic," he added of the Covid-19 economic recovery.

Two, it must manage the long-term challenge of wage disparity by equipping people with skills for the future, enabling them to compete globally, and having a collective social conscience where those who have succeeded help those who have not.

"We must take tangible and sustained actions to level up our people and companies for the long term, rather than just resorting to populist actions like elsewhere to either shut out foreign competition, or conduct unsustainable redistribution of a shrinking pie," he said.

Mr Chan was speaking at the Economic Development Board (EDB) Society's 30th anniversary commemoration event, held in a hybrid format at the Capitol Kempinski Hotel ahead of a closed-door dialogue with the society's alumni.

In his speech, he outlined how the EDB has been a key driver of Singapore's economic development.

Despite the pandemic, it secured $13 billion of fixed asset investment commitments in the first four months of this year.

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