SINGAPORE: Singapore will continue to provide a business-friendly environment for international companies and workers to operate in, while ensuring a fair and level playing field for Singaporeans, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post on Friday (Oct 2).
Mr Chan made these comments following a dialogue organised by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), which he attended with key representatives from 16 foreign business chambers on Thursday.
At the dialogue, the participants exchanged views on the challenges faced by their members and discussed the outlook for Singapore's business environment, said SBF in a news release.
Mr Chan noted that the issue of foreign manpower and the role they play in Singapore's economy have "attracted much attention" over the last few months, and that "it has not escaped the notice of our international business community".
Some members of the community have been "growing increasingly concerned that the rhetoric means that Singapore is going to take a less open and inclusive approach to foreign investments and manpower going forward", Mr Chan said.
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Responding to these concerns, Mr Chan assured that Singapore remains committed to being open and connected to the world.
"We recognise the role that international companies and workers have played in growing Singapore's economy and intend to continue to ensure we provide a business-friendly environment for them to operate in," Mr Chan said.
However, Mr Chan also said there is a need to address the anxieties among Singaporeans about their future given the present circumstances.
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"It is important that we work together to support our Singaporean workers and assure them that we will always provide a fair and level playing field," said Mr Chan.
In this regard, he welcomed the commitment from international business chambers to developing their Singapore workforce and abiding by fair hiring practices.
SBF said in its news release that the vast majority of multinational corporations (MNCs) based in Singapore have put in place a systematic transfer of skills and knowledge from foreign employees to Singaporeans over the years.
These efforts will continue as companies seek to boost the upskilling of the local workforce, and continue to develop local talents and localise more jobs over time, SBF said.
Mr Chan also encouraged participants to showcase these efforts, SBF said, adding that this would allow more people to "better understand the role that foreign companies and global talent play in the development and growth of our economy and our workforce".