Southeast Asia could gain as supply chains shift during the pandemic, Singapore minister says

SINGAPORE — The Covid-19 pandemic has modified the method corporations deploy their staff and the way they manage their supply chains — and that could create alternatives for Southeast Asia, says Singapore’s commerce and business minister.

As the pandemic hit, staff have moved to work remotely from dwelling, and a number of other corporations have announced insurance policies to permit staff to proceed doing so till subsequent 12 months, and even completely.

“Since the coronavirus outbreak, we have seen that it will bring about fundamental changes in the way people work and organize their supply chains. For example, this work-from-home phenomenon – many companies are reorganizing the way their global footprint of where they put their people and where they put their production chains, and how they organize their supply chains,” Singapore’s Chan Chun Sing advised CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday.

“And that will cause a reshuffling of global production and supply chains,” he added.

Gantry cranes stand subsequent to containers at Tan Cang-Hiep Phuoc Port in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

He added that these modifications can have some implications for Southeast Asia, when corporations take into consideration the way to strengthen the resilience of their supply chains.

“If some of them diversify to Southeast Asia, there will be more opportunities for the Southeast Asian economies, including Singapore,” Chan mentioned.

With regard to Singapore’s exports, which got here in a lot worse than anticipated in October, Chan identified that not all sectors are recovering at the identical tempo. He added that sectors like oil and fuel, marine offshore, and tourism, are nonetheless down.

“But we are confident that so long as … most of the Asian countries are able to keep their infection numbers down, Asia will be a possible engine of growth going forward,” he mentioned.

Singapore positioned to draw vaccine-makers

While Pfizer and Moderna have introduced constructive trial information on the effectiveness of their vaccines, the race can be on for a number of corporations globally to develop their very own vaccines.

Chan mentioned the city-state’s strict mental property safety laws are the “most critical” issue for such corporations.

“And increasingly … I would say (this is) the most critical consideration as to where people put such knowledge-intensive industries in. So this includes the bio-pharma sector … ICT sector,” he mentioned, referring to the Information and communications know-how business.

We will take our time to make the evaluation to guarantee that any vaccine that’s accessible in Singapore is secure for our public use.

Chan Chun Sing

Singapore’s commerce and business minister

Apart from that, Singapore is ensuring it is staying “open” with out export restrictions even during the pandemic.

“That makes us extremely attractive for people to base their production and distribution chains out of Singapore,” Chan mentioned. “While other countries might try to attract some bio-pharma companies … based on the size of their domestic market, we attract companies here based on the size of the global and regional market.”

No rush to take vaccine

Chan mentioned the coronavirus state of affairs in Singapore has at the moment stabilized, and persons are not feeling like they should rush to take a vaccine when it turns into accessible in the nation.

Asked if the Singapore public is open to taking a vaccine, or whether or not individuals understand the vaccine with a level of warning, he mentioned: “At this point in time, when I talk to … the general public in Singapore, there’s no great urgency for people to want to rush to take the vaccine.”

“Partly because the situation in Singapore has stabilized, and people know that actually there’s no need to rush to do this,” he mentioned.

The variety of new regionally transmitted instances in the nation has fallen to zero for the previous a number of days, though there are nonetheless just a few imported instances.

“We will take our time to make the assessment to make sure that any vaccine that is available in Singapore is safe for our public use,” Chan concluded.

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