(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s “most immediate task” is to bolster the tourism sector amid a global coronavirus outbreak, Trade & Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said.
The government will support the upgrade of hotels and attractions, a “strong pipeline” of leisure and business events, and step up tourism marketing, Chan said in prepared remarks for delivery Tuesday in parliament.
Other highlights of the speech:
- Singapore must plan for long-term changes, including re-ordering of supply chains and technological advances, in order to “emerge stronger” from virus effects
- “The ensuing contest to attract top investments will be intense” as developing countries with land and labor slash costs and developed nations build smart cities to rival Singapore
- Singapore should upgrade and expand on its 25 free-trade agreements and hopes to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership this year; trade negotiations also ongoing with Latin American blocs and Eurasian Economic Union
- Talks with Australia on digital economy agreement “progressing well”; similar negotiations with Chile and New Zealand have “substantially concluded”
- Government will “significantly strengthen” support for firms that want to internationalize business, including by extending a double tax deduction scheme for another five years through 2025, and by providing assistance for local graduates to work in Southeast Asia, China, or India
- Workers in their 40s and 50s to get extra support as the government boosts re-skilling measures and targets annual job placements of 5,500 for locals in that age group by 2025; eligible firms will get a one-time S$10,000 ($7,186) payment to cover as much as 90% of expenses related to such workforce transformation programs
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