Singapore unveils Economy 2030 plan aimed at boosting exports to S$1 trillion

Singapore will boost its efforts to attract leading global traders. - ST FILE

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong has unveiled a new plan to strengthen local businesses in various sectors, with an aim to significantly grow Singapore's trade volumes by 2030.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday (March 4), Gan said the Singapore Economy 2030 plan will target growing exports to at least S$1 trillion by 2030, from $805 billion in 2020, while doubling offshore trade to US$2 trillion (S$2.7 trillion) in the same period.

Offshore trade usually refers to services associated with the trading of goods which are purchased from parties and then sold to others without the goods ever entering and leaving the country.

Gan said the plan will be driven by separate strategies that will provide direction and coordinate actions across the four key pillars of the economy - services, manufacturing, trade and enterprises.

"Together, these efforts will put our industries, enterprises and workers on a firmer footing for long-term, sustainable growth," he said.

The Trade 2030 strategy will aim to grow trading volumes by widening the types of activities that take place in Singapore, and with other parts of the world, he said.

Singapore will boost its efforts to attract leading global traders, which will also serve as platforms to help local enterprises to break into overseas markets.

Enterprise Singapore will tap its full range of offerings, such as Scale-up SG and the Enterprise Leadership for Transformation (ELT) Programme, to grow a strong core of locally grown traders that command global scale and are highly innovative.

To highlight the potential of home-grown companies, Gan gave the example of Fish International Sourcing House (Fish), which is a seafood trader and graduate of the ELT programme.

He said that Fish has established a presence in more than 90 markets and plans to invest more than $20 million to set up a 240,000 sq ft seafood processing and innovation centre in Singapore. Fish also intends to almost triple its headcount.

"Growing our trading volume will create good jobs for our people. The trading sector is one of Singapore's largest employers with over 300,000 employees in 2020, of which the majority are locals and close to 70 per cent are PMET (professional, manager, executive and technician) jobs," Gan said.

The Enterprise 2030 strategy will be aimed at fostering a vibrant ecosystem of Singapore enterprises that are future-ready, globally competitive and possess deep innovative capabilities, he said.

To enable local companies to access financing more readily throughout their various stages of growth, schemes such as the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme, Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) - Trade Loan and EFS - Merger and Acquisition will also be extended and enhanced.

Gan said sustainability and digitalisation will drive the next lap of growth for the services sector, which represents 70 per cent of Singapore's economy spanning across industries such as finance and insurance, information and communications, professional services, and logistics.

"Digitalisation is a secular trend which will disrupt all our industries. Technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as augmented and virtual reality, have the potential to fundamentally transform how we interact with the world around us."

He said digitalisation can also be a powerful transformation tool to help consumer-facing businesses improve productivity and engage new customers.

He said the Singapore Economy 2030 vision will continue to build upon the Manufacturing 2030 plan launched last year, with the aim of increasing manufacturing value-add by 50 per cent in 10 years.

"To make a further push towards our Manufacturing 2030 ambitions, Singapore will redouble efforts to grow a vibrant core of Singapore global manufacturers that are deeply innovative and can deliver distinctive offerings to their customers," he said.

Separately, to ensure that Singaporeans can access good job opportunities in the manufacturing sector, the M2030 Careers Initiative will be launched.

Under the initiative the Government will work with the industry and target graduates from polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education, who have been trained with industry-relevant skills.

To level up the industry's talent development capabilities, the Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association will work with industry partners such as the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association and institutes of higher learning to develop a Manufacturing Employer Handbook.

"The handbook will provide a range of human capital best practices and resources to support companies in developing structured career development progression pathways for their employees," said Gan.

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