Remarks by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Finance & Ministry of Transport, Mr Chee Hong Tat, at China Aviation Oil (Singapore) 30th Anniversary Commemorative Event

26 May 2023Speeches

Ladies and gentlemen,

1.     Good evening, 大家晚上好!I am happy to join you today to celebrate China Aviation Oil’s 30th anniversary in Singapore.

2.     Though the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the aviation sector, air travel has rebounded, and we are confident that we will see strong growth in the years ahead, especially in Asia Pacific.

3.     China Aviation Oil has achieved much over the last three decades in Singapore.  The company has grown to be the largest physical jet fuel trader in the Asia Pacific region, and the largest supplier of imported jet fuel to the civil aviation industry in China.

4.     China Aviation Oil is not resting on its laurels, it is actively planning for the future. We know that the development of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) will be an important pathway to reduce the aviation sector’s carbon emissions. China Aviation Oil is taking steps to be SAF ready.

5.     Just last year, it successfully achieved accreditations such as International Sustainability and Carbon Certification for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme and ISCC European Union. More work lies ahead to achieve the sustainability goals.  Our government agencies and enterprises in Singapore look forward to working with China Aviation Oil on this journey.

6.     I want to thank China Aviation Oil for the strong partnership over the years. The Group continues to maintain the headquarters of its overseas business activities in Singapore, and has grown its presence here to create more business opportunities and provide more good jobs for our workers.  There are further initiatives we can do together in the years ahead, building on our strong mutual trust to forge more win-win collaborations.    

Singapore as a Regional Hub

7.     Singapore is home to many multinational companies like China Aviation Oil, which have set up their global or regional headquarters here, and established corporate innovation centres to tap on our R&D capabilities and talent pool in Singapore. The talent pool comprises not just Singaporeans and locals, but also from all over the world. Our business-friendly environment, stable political system, strong rule of law, and well-trained workforce are just some of the attributes that have enabled Singapore to position ourselves as a business hub for the region. Today there are companies from all over the world – including US, Europe, China, India, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia – that have established operations here.

8.     As DPM Wong said in his May Day Rally speech, Singapore will compete by playing to our strengths. Today, I will focus on three key areas that have allowed Singapore to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, namely: trust, connectivity and talent.


9.     Trust is the foundation of any successful partnership. Over the years, Singapore has established ourselves to be a consistent and trusted partner, whether in diplomacy or business. The Economist Intelligence Unit in November last year ranked Singapore first out of 82 countries for business environment, naming us as the most attractive place for doing business.

10.    We thank the EIU for their compliments and endorsement, but we do not take this achievement for granted, because we know the competition is fierce and relentless.  And this race is a never-ending marathon that we must continue to move forward or risk being overtaken and left behind.

11.    The COVID-19 pandemic was a crisis for all countries, but it was also an opportunity to differentiate Singapore.  Indeed, while global supply chains were disrupted by the pandemic – with overseas port congestion and closures, Singapore’s air and sea ports remained opened throughout. The Port of Singapore was described as a “catch-up” port for many ships that faced delays in other parts of the world.

12.    This was a reflection of our commitment to the principles we believe in – free and open trade – and it cemented Singapore’s status as a trusted partner which businesses could rely on for the flow of essential supplies, whether in good times or tough times. 


13.    This brings me to the second area – our connectivity to the world. One of Singapore’s value propositions to businesses is our strong connectivity to the region and the world. For many, it is the gateway to Southeast Asia and even Asia. Companies located in Singapore have access to global markets, resources, talent and innovations. This is enabled by our world-class sea port and airport, supported by their respective ecosystem of large and small companies to form a well-integrated maritime hub and also an aviation hub.

14.    Like China Aviation Oil, Singapore does not stand still. We do not take our current competitive advantage for granted, and we will proactively look ahead to see what further steps we should take to meet our future needs.  We are investing significantly in our transport infrastructure capacity.

a.     We have started works on the development of Tuas Port, which will be completed by 2040s. When completed, Tuas Port will have a handling capacity of 65 million TEUs, almost double the volume of throughput handled in 2021.

b.     We have also restarted the Changi Airport Terminal 5 project, which is expected to be operational in the mid-2030s. When complete, Terminal 5 alone can handle about 50 million passengers a year, which is equal to Terminal 1 plus Terminal 3.

15.    Beyond the physical infrastructure, our connectivity with the world is supported by trade facilitation schemes, including our extensive Free Trade Agreement network. This includes the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

16.    We are also expanding our digital infrastructure, by deepening our participation in bilateral and multilateral frameworks. We have concluded four digital economy agreements, namely with Chile and New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and Korea, which establish frameworks that encourage cooperation in emerging fields and ultimately support businesses engaging in digital trade and e-commerce. 


17.    I’ve covered two areas so far: trust and connectivity. Let me touch now on a third area, which is talent. Now, this is very important because we value our workforce and talent pool very much, and this undergirds Singapore’s value proposition. Since our independence in 1965, we have invested in developing a skilled and capable workforce for our industries. We have remained open and welcoming to talent from around the world, and some subsequently became our new citizens and permanent residents.

18.    We place a strong emphasis on education, reskilling and lifelong learning. Last month, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Shanghai Maritime University to support talent, professional and academic exchange between Singapore and China in the maritime sector. This underscores the Government’s commitment to providing the resource and platforms to grow our workforce together with global partners. It is not something we can do alone, it is something we need to work together with different partners around the globe on.

19.    I would like to commend China Aviation Oil’s efforts to build up a strong talent base here, by working with our tertiary institutions to develop and train young talent through internships and student engagement events. We value China Aviation Oil’s active contribution in grooming our young talent, and we hope that this will deepen its close partnerships with our tertiary institutions in the years ahead. Some of these talent could be Singaporeans who gain experience when you send them for internships and attachments, not just in Singapore but also in your operations in other parts of the world. Some of them could come from other parts of the world, and when you bring them to Singapore, they can add to and enrich our talent pool here. This is a two-way flow, or “dual circulation”.

20.    Allow me to continue my speech in Mandarin.

21.    我在英语演讲中谈到新加坡在建立互信和谐的社会、互联互通和人才三方面的优势,巩固我们区域商业中心的地位。

22.    坚韧的社会契约,以及政府、企业和工会,劳资政三方之间的紧密合作关系是维持这些优势的基础。我们在争取双赢合作时,不仅只是为了经济增长,也是为了确保雇主和员工们都能从中受惠,打造一个更公平,更公正的社会。

23.    要做到这一点,就必须先建立互信。即使在某些方面我们的劳资政合作伙伴可能无法取得完全一致的观点,但我们能求大同、存小异,谨记共同的目标,彼此相让,携手前进。

24.    慈善和志愿服务也是维持和谐社会和坚韧社会契约的另一个关键。在公平累进的税制和再分配制度下,每个人都有所贡献,但较富裕和收入较高的国人会奉献更多,而较弱势和收入较低的国人则会获得更多援助。   

25.    我要感谢中国航油为慈善团体“拥抱社区服务”提供30万元人民币的捐款。拥抱社区服务是本地一家社会服务组织,专门为边缘青少年和他们的家人提供康复和支援服务。

26.    期待中国航油继续行善,支持拥抱社区服务与其他的慈善基金和团体。我也希望更多成功的企业和雇主能鼓励员工们参与志愿团体活动,有钱出钱,有力出力,帮助社会里的弱势群体。

27.    新加坡必须继续对世界保持开放,欢迎外来投资,外来人才,外来资源。我们也必须鼓励跨国企业在新加坡设立业务和区域总部,带来更多的投资,带来更多优质的就业机会,造福我们的员工,造福我们的人民。这能为新加坡提供更多经济和社会方面的机源。 谢谢大家! 


You may also like