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Wholesale Trade Industry Transformation Map aims to create 10k jobs by 2020

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Minister S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) yesterday unveiled the Wholesale Trade Industry Transformation Map (ITM) at International Enterprise (IE) Singapore’s “Digitalisation of Trade – New Mindsets, New Skillsets” event.

The ITM will help companies digitalise to enhance global growth and productivity, and targets to create 10,000 new jobs by 2020. Developed in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders – including industry players, trade unions, trade associations and government agencies – the Wholesale Trade ITM charts out three key strategies to ensure the sector remains relevant.

1. Build trade connectivity through digital marketplaces and platforms

In three years’ time, digital business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce transactions are expected to reach US$6.7 trillion by 2020. To overcome this digital disruption and tap on this growth, a conducive environment for digital marketplaces and platforms to flourish is necessary.

Included in the ITM are plans to accelerate global trade connectivity, facilitating and capturing value from e-commerce trade flows as well as increasing SMEs’ market access and productivity through digital marketplaces and platforms. It will do so through three key initiatives – ASEAN Digital Trade Facilitation Platform; Cross Border Cognitive Supply Chain Solution; and working with trade associations and private enterprises to help SMEs list on digital marketplaces.

2. Strengthen enterprise capabilities and grow a vibrant ecosystem of wholesale trading enterprises 

Underscoring the government’s commitment to adapt and strengthen our support for our enterprises, a new government agency, named Enterprise Singapore, will be formed through the merger of IE Singapore and SPRING. As the lead agency driving the transformation of the wholesale trade industry, Enterprise Singapore will leverage on IE Singapore’s core strengths in internationalisation and SPRING’s expertise and levers in helping SMEs to offer companies a holistic and integrated network to build capabilities and access overseas markets opportunities.

3. Develop industry-ready talent with skillsets for digitalisation and internationalisation

The transformation of the wholesale trade industry will create new opportunities for the workforce.  As companies address new business models, demand for specialised talent with digital skillsets such as digital marketing, global supply chain and data analytics will grow.

Through ongoing partnerships with Workforce Singapore (WSG), National Trade Union Congress, Institutes of Higher Learning and industry players, the Wholesale Trade ITM skills framework will provide industry-validated insights into the skillsets required for the future of trade. To be completed by the second-half of 2018, it will help identify job opportunities and prepare PMETs and students for careers in wholesale trade.

At the PMET level, relevant Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP6 ) and tertiary programmes will provide local PMETs with opportunities to re-skill and move into new positions in wholesale trade. While new academic programmes have been added to existing ones with SMU and Nanyang Technological University to develop talent for the trading sector.

ALSO READ: Highlights from Singapore’s HR Industry Manpower Plan

Companies need to transform business models and be equipped with new skillsets. A strong core of Singaporean talent and companies will underpin our sustainability and long-term success.


– Lee Ark Boon, chief executive officer, IE Singapore

Comprising over 34,000 firms, the wholesale trade industry provides livelihoods for more than 325,000, accounting for 9% of Singapore’s workforce in 2016. In 2016, wholesale trade contributed S$47.3 billion (12%) to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“Asia’s boom in urbanisation and consumerism presents new opportunities. ‘South-South’ trade is also growing much faster and Singapore is well-positioned to play an important role. However, external volatility and digital technology are changing how trade is conducted,” Lee Ark Boon, chief executive officer, IE Singapore, said.

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