31st July, 2012
SINGAPORE: For Asia to take advantage of the available economic growth opportunities, improvements in competitiveness are critical, said Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck.
Teo said competitiveness benchmarks could be useful tools for policymakers to monitor their progress and motivate changes within their own economies.
“It can also be handy for businesses to make investment decisions as we see more firms rooting themselves in Asia.
“Since Prof Michael Porter first launched his study on competitiveness, we have witnessed how competitiveness benchmarking can complement and deepen policy discussions,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Asia Competitiveness Institute’s (ACI) annual conference 2012 here yesterday.
Also present were Indonesia’s Minister of Trade, Gita Wirjawan and Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
Teo said ACI released its Asean Competitiveness Report and Vietnam Competitiveness Report in 2010, which received much attention in Vietnam’s policy circles.
ACI was established in 2006 to provide thought leadership on competitiveness in order to raise living standards through productivity-driven economic growth, he said.
“After six years and a global financial crisis, Teo said, it was perhaps timely that we re-examine the notion of competitiveness.
“As a country develops and its mix of economic activities changes in response to regional and global flux, the factors that affect its competitiveness will also change,” he said.
He said for countries at the innovation-driven stage of development, they must compete by producing higher value-added goods through sophisticated production processes, and by generating creative new ideas.
“Thus, higher education and training become important for economies that want to move up the value chain. This enables the economy to continuously innovate and produce cutting-edge products,” he said.
He said as Asean members worked towards the realisation of the Asean Economic Community by 2015, the grouping would be one step closer to regional integration and trade liberalisation.
“As a single market and production base, Asean will become even more competitive and our citizens will benefit from more dynamic economic development,” he said.