SINGAPORE – The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way companies deploy their people and organize their supply chains – and this could create opportunities for Southeast Asia, says Singapore’s Minister of Commerce and Industry.
In the wake of the pandemic, workers have moved to work from home, and several companies have announced guidelines that allow employees to continue doing this until next year or even permanently.
“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, we have seen that this will cause fundamental changes in the way people work and organize their supply chains. For example, this work-from-home phenomenon – many companies are reorganizing their global presence there, Where they are? Set up your employees and your production chains and how they organize your supply chains, “Singapore’s Chan Chun Sing told CNBC’s” Squawk Box Asia “on Thursday.
“And that will lead to a restructuring of the global production and supply chains,” he added.
Gantry cranes stand next to containers in Tan Cang-Hiep Phuoc harbor in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Bloomberg | Getty Images
He added that these changes will have some ramifications in Southeast Asia as companies start thinking about how to make their supply chains more resilient.
“If some of them diversify into Southeast Asia, the Southeast Asian economies, including Singapore, will have more opportunities,” Chan said.
Concerning Singapore’s exports, which were significantly worse than expected in OctoberChan pointed out that not all sectors are recovering at the same rate. He added that sectors like oil and gas, offshore shipping and tourism are still in decline.
“But we are confident that Asia will be a potential growth engine for the future as long as … most Asian countries are able to keep their infection rates low,” he said.
Chan said the city-state’s stringent intellectual property protection regulations are the “most critical” factor for such businesses.
“And increasingly … I would say (this is) the most critical consideration where people are using such knowledge-intensive industries. So that includes the bio-pharmaceuticals sector … the ICT sector,” he said, referring to the information and communication technology industry.
That being said, Singapore is making sure to stay “open” without any export restrictions even during the pandemic.
“That makes us extremely attractive to people who operate their production and distribution chains out of Singapore,” said Chan. “While other countries might try to attract some bio-pharma companies … based on the size of their home market, here we are attracting companies based on the size of the global and regional market.”
Chan said the coronavirus situation in Singapore has now stabilized and people do not feel they need to rush to get a vaccine if it is available in the country.
Asked if the Singapore public is open to vaccinations or if people are Take the vaccine with cautionHe said, “At this point, when I speak to … the public in Singapore, there is not much urgency for people to want to rush to get the vaccine.”
“Partly because the situation in Singapore has stabilized and people know there is really no need to rush to do this,” he said.
The number of new locally transmitted cases in the country has fallen to zero in the last few days, although there are still some imported cases.
“We will take the time to do the assessment to ensure that any vaccine available in Singapore is safe for our public use,” Chan concluded.