Really? “Singapore Says Asian Growth Helps Offset U.S. Trade Threat”

In Economy on 07/02/2017 at 4:31 am

(Or “EDB does alternative facts”)

“A lot of our manufacturing here is to address the needs and opportunities in Asia.”

“Singapore Says Asian Growth Helps Offset U.S. Trade Threat” 

Erm. A lot of the opportunities and needs in Asia come about as a result from the ultimately exporting to the US of A.

Here’s a chart from the Bloomberg article

Juz google “Export data” and

— China’s main export partners are the United States (18% of total exports), Hong Kong (15%), the European Union (16%, of which Germany, the UK and the Netherlands account for 3% each), ASEAN countries (12%, of which Vietnam accounts for 3%), Japan (6%) and South Korea (4%)

— Malaysia’s main export partners are: Singapore (14%), China (13%), European Union (10%), Japan (9.5%), the United States (9.4%) and Thailand (6%).

Need I say more?

But there’s more: the chart below (courtesy of Chris K) shows that we are among those countries that will suffer the most from the imposition of a US border tax. But we’ll be happy that M’sia will be more badly affected. As will Thailand and Vietnam.

Image may contain: text

Again the effects on big exporters to the US like China and M’sia will also affect their trade with us.

So what cock is the chairman of the EDB talking? And what weed is he smoking?

Finally remember when reading the u/m from EDB remember what I said recently about FDI numbers: FDI does not always result in new physical investments, with new jobs to match it. Often FDI is the transfer intangible assets for the purpose of lowering corporate tax.

Investment commitment levels in Singapore are expected to be similar to those seen in 2016 amid uncertainties in the global economic environment, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said on Thursday (Feb 2).

At its 2016 Year-in-Review press conference, EDB said it will seek to consolidate Singapore’s position as a high value manufacturing base by capturing opportunities in advanced manufacturing. It will do this by anchoring lead adopters of advanced manufacturing in Singapore, while building up an ecosystem of suppliers and enablers to develop technologies and solutions, the agency added.


Btw, maybe FDI levels are projected to remain static because MNCs are expected to cut back their use of tax havens following public outrage in the West after revelations of the tricks (not all legal) they use to mininise tax?

Luxembourg is already expecting this and if it happens there, it’ll happen here. Remember Oz miners are on the rack after it was revealed that they use S’pore to minise taxes on their exports of minerals from Oz?

  1. EDB’s method of attracting investments is already obsolete & way past its expiry date. It has worked in the past due to the capital-intensive nature of then investments as well as the labour-intensive nature of manufacturing that previous investments involved. Which is why EDB used to measure investments in FAI (Fixed Asset Investments) and not FDI.

    However today most of the big whale investments brought in by EDB are in processes such as R&D (where most of the investments are actually for the fat salaries of PhDs & scientists who are mostly foreigners) and in high-tech manufacturing where large portion of the investments are into expensive & specialized automation/robotics which are foreign-sourced and end up in foreigners’ hands anyway. Large portions of investments today are for various “business” costs. Hence since the late-2000s, EDB has started to measure foreign investments in Total Business Expenditure (TBE) instead of FAI, as foreign investments moved away from creating new factories or new offices.

    Most of these investments over the last 10 years have resulted in fewer & fewer new jobs as the investments & manufacturing go up the value-chain — today most new multi-million dollar investments result in creating only 50-150 jobs, dunno how many going to new citizens or foreigners on PR or work passes anyway.

    At the same time, EDB & MTI & JTC are attracting foreign companies to invest here solely because of the hefty tax holidays & tax breaks & subsidized rentals & cheap land pricing being dangled in front of these MNCs. Hence we have multiple whammies in the form of minimal or no revenue collection, little job creation, and negative impact of having to bring in additional foreign workers, all in exchange for millions of taxpayer dollars worth of efforts to bring in such foreign “investments”.

    That’s why I say EDB’s method of attracting investments is way obsolete liao, and worse than useless — it’s causing more harm to S’pore.

  2. About the only way to benefit from EDB’s & MTI’s current method of attracting investments is to invest in those MNCs that secure such goodies, grants & tax holidays. That’s why many in EDB, MTI, JTC are personally (or family) invested into such MNCs, particularly those officers who have done overseas posting stints in US, Europe, Japan where they get to interact frequently with senior management of those MNCs and become very familiar with the companies’ financials. By right not supposed to, due to conflict of interest & potential for corruption, but in real life it’s common.

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