SAN FRANCISCO: There are opportunities even in a complicated global environment and Singapore should put itself in a position to seize them, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday (Nov 17) as he emphasised the need for the country to remain open to the world.
Speaking to reporters after the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, Mr Lee touched on subjects like an Indo-Pacific trade deal and how Singapore can remain competitive.
“Even in a complicated world, there are opportunities and we are not the last in queue to reach those opportunities. In fact, we are quite high up the list, and we should get further up,” said Mr Lee.
It is a message the Prime Minister has been focused on during his six-day working trip to California. He officiated the launch of an Enterprise Singapore Overseas Centre to facilitate Singapore companies’ entry to the US, visited the offices of tech giants Apple and Google, as well as met US business leaders on top of the official APEC agenda.
He also met Singapore entrepreneurs who have expanded their businesses or founded start-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area at a reception for overseas Singaporeans.
Mr Lee said it is “particularly encouraging” to see Singaporeans starting their own companies in the US, then bringing their business to Singapore and starting branches back home.
“So that is one way to do it – to go out to the world and do business where the world is,” Mr Lee said.
“But the other way is to bring the companies into Singapore, and make sure that Singapore stands out as an environment which is special, where they can do things they cannot do elsewhere, and therefore they want to come to Singapore.”
Referring to the US head honchos he met at a business roundtable on Wednesday, Mr Lee said: “Around the world, their business goes up, goes down, but in Singapore, they are stable and they are growing and recruiting some more, and not just increasing headcount but bringing in 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 they can do elsewhere.”