Singapore should reach further to seize opportunities in a complex world: PM Lee

SAN FRANCISCO: Even in a complex global environment, there are opportunities and Singapore should position itself to take advantage of them, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday (Nov 17), stressing the country’s need to remain open to the world.

Speaking to reporters after the conclusion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, Mr Lee touched on topics such as the Indo-Pacific trade deal and how Singapore can remain competitive.

“Even in a complex world, there are opportunities and we are not the last in the queue to take advantage of those opportunities. In fact, we are quite high on the list and should get further,” Mr Lee said.

That’s the message the prime minister was focused on during a six-day working trip to California. He led the opening of the Enterprise Singapore Overseas Center to facilitate the entry of Singaporean companies into the US, visited the offices of tech giants Apple and Google, and met with US business leaders at the top of the official APEC agenda.

At the reception for overseas Singaporeans, he also met with Singaporean entrepreneurs who have expanded their businesses or set up new businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mr Lee said it was “particularly encouraging” to see Singaporeans setting up their own companies in the US, then transferring their business to Singapore and setting up branches back home.

“So that’s one way to do it – to go into the world and do business where the world is,” Mr Lee said.

“The other way is to bring businesses to Singapore and make Singapore stand out as an environment that’s special, where they can do things that they can’t do elsewhere, and that’s why they want to come to Singapore.”

Referring to the US leaders he met at a business roundtable on Wednesday, Mr Lee said: “All over the world their business is going up, going down, but in Singapore they are stable and growing and hiring some more and not just increasing headcount, but brings functions to Singapore from elsewhere in the region…

“Singapore is a place where they can do it, and they think they can do it better in Singapore than anywhere else.”

Elvira Parkinson

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