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SBF Organises FTA Day 2020 to Call on Businesses to Build Trade Resilience and Advance Digital Economy

Thursday, 22 October 2020 [Singapore]
– FTA Day 2020 was held today with the theme “Building Resilience and Advancing with the Digital Economy”. Organised by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG), FTA Day is SBF’s annual flagship Free Trade Agreement (FTA) event to help companies understand and leverage Singapore’s extensive network of FTAs.

This year’s FTA Day aims to help businesses in Singapore navigate pressing issues impacting supply chains, cross-border trade and investment issues, and building resilience in business processes through the adoption of FTAs. To build on Singapore’s extensive network of FTAs, the event will also highlight the benefits of digital cooperation initiatives, such as the Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs), which establish digital trade rules and foster interoperability of standards and systems to support our businesses in the digital economy.

With industry leaders, business owners and representatives in attendance virtually1, FTA Day 2020 features two insightful panel discussions led by private and public sector leaders. Details of the two panel discussions, titled “Building Resilience in Trade and Investment Structures” and “Advancing with the Digital Economy”, are appended in Annex A.

Urging businesses to transform through internationalisation, Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF, said, “Cross-border trade continues to be essential for a small and open country like Singapore. Businesses must not take for granted their current roles in the global value chains. They will need to internationalise to seize opportunities in new markets and diversify market-specific risks. The recent enhancement of the Market Readiness Assistance Grant also signals our Government’s effort to support businesses to pivot to overseas markets. SBF stands ready to help our members in their internationalisation plans and forge a new path forward.”

Companies present are supportive of the need to internationalise to spur recovery and growth. Speaking to Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, on the sidelines of the event, business leaders urged the Government to ensure that Singapore remains open and connected to the global economy. This would enable companies to continue growing, contribute to the economy, and create good jobs for Singaporeans.

To assist businesses in their internationalisation plans, the [email protected] initiative was launched in 2019. This initiative seeks to assist businesses assess potential overseas markets, connect with in-market contacts, identify international business opportunities, and advise on market entries. SBF also offers dedicated services and has provided more than 150 individualised advisories to businesses in Singapore to help them understand and leverage FTAs. Additional initiatives to help companies utilise FTAs are appended in Annex B.

FTAs form the basis of a rules-based bilateral and multilateral trading system. Our extensive network of FTAs provides Singapore-based companies preferential access to economies that together represent more than 85 per cent of Gross Domestic Product worldwide. FTAs serve to improve the global competitiveness of our businesses by improving access into overseas markets, lowering export costs and creating a more stable business environment.

Please refer to Annexes for more details.

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