In an engaging discussion with key representatives 16 foreign business chambers in a dialogue hosted by Singapore Business Federation, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing assured participants that Singapore remains committed to being ‘open and connected to the world, and continues to welcome foreign investments and global talent to build the best team to play for Singapore in the global arena’.
The participants had expressed concerns over the recent rise in anti-foreigner sentiments and scrutiny on the role of foreign manpower in the Singapore economy. They were worried that such sentiments and scrutiny were giving the wrong impression to the international business community that Singapore was becoming closed to foreign investments and global talents.
“This could affect global businesses’ future investment decisions,” they said.
Singapore’s success has been built on openness and connectivity. Remaining open and connected is critical in ensuring Singapore remains relevant and resilient to enhance Singapore’s competitiveness and attractiveness in an increasingly competitive world.
The presence of foreign companies and global talent in Singapore contributes to the creation of good jobs for Singaporeans and high-value activities which will have a positive spillover effect in the domestic ecosystem, SBF said in a media release on the dialogue.
Singapore’s status as a global business hub is intrinsically tied to its connectivity and openness. This is the reason why many of their members have set up their regional headquarters and operations here, participants pointed out.
Global talent continues to be needed to augment the local workforce in order to meet the needs of the changing economy.
Minister Chan Chun Sing assured the participants that Singapore is deeply cognisant of the importance of staying open and connected to the world.
This will never change, he said. Singapore intends to continue to ensure we provide a business-friendly environment for businesses to operate in.
At the same time, Mr Chan stressed that the concerns of Singaporeans also deserved to be addressed.
These are unprecedented times and Singaporeans are increasingly concerned about what their future holds. Mr Chan stressed that it was important to ‘work together to support our Singaporean workers and assure them that we will always provide a fair and level playing field’.
In this regard, Mr Chan was very heartened by the assurance from the international business chambers to adhere to responsible employment practices and to strengthen the Singapore core.
He also encouraged participants to showcase these efforts, so that more people could better understand the role that foreign companies and global talent play in the development and growth of our economy and our workforce.
Resumption of Business Travel
Participants urged the Government to push for further border opening for more countries as the resumption of business travel is of critical importance for business survival and growth, especially since many of their members also play the role of regional headquarters.
Mr Chan assured them that Singapore was actively exploring ways to allow for more travel. We have made some moves to open up our border unilaterally to countries like Brunei, New Zealand, Vietnam and most parts of Australia. He expressed hope to see more countries reciprocate and allow for those based in Singapore to travel to their countries as well.