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Singapore Manufacturers’ Association is founded 1932

The Singapore Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) was established in 1932 with the aim of representing the interests of local manufacturers.[1] At the time, there was an urgent need to diversify the economic base of Singapore since its main export commodities – rubber and tin – were still in a “sorry plight”[2] following the Great Depression of 1929. The British colonial government thus encouraged the formation of such an association as a means for fledgling industries to promote and develop themselves.[3] The association was formed by local businesses that had participated in the first large-scale exhibition of Singapore-made goods, the Singapore Manufacturers Exhibition, which took place in January 1932.[4] Under British leadership in the first two decades, the SMA spoke up for local manufacturers on unfair trading practices and other issues affecting the manufacturing industry.[5]

In the period following independence, the SMA contributed to the economic growth of the country by promoting Made-in-Singapore products overseas through trade missions as well as at international fairs and exhibitions.[6] The association’s first annual large-scale trade exhibition held in 1970 involved over 100 manufacturers, and sought to demonstrate the progress of industrialisation in Singapore through the range of goods on show.[7] Over the years, the association has emphasised higher productivity and standards in manufacturing through quality control, skills training and innovation. It also seeks to assist local businesses establish a regional presence that is aligned with the move, which began in the 1980s, to grow the external wing of Singapore’s economy.[8] The SMA, now known as the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), has grown from 17 founding members to over 3,000 members.[9]

1. Singapore Manufacturing Federation. (2012). Achievements. Retrieved July 16, 2013, from http://www.smfederation.org.sg/index.php/profile/achievements; Singapore Manufacturing Federation. (2012). Championing manufacturing: Partner in nation building (p. 28). Singapore: Singapore Manufacturing Federation. Call no.: RSING 338.4767095957 SIN.
2. Looking ahead. (1932, January 16). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Singapore Manufacturing Federation, 2012, pp. 27–28.
4. Singapore Manufacturing Federation, 2012, pp. 27–28.
5. Singapore Manufacturing Federation, 2012, p. 31.
6. SMA – its duties and functions. (1976, August 20). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Manufacturing Federation, 2012, pp. 52–55.
7. Fong, L. (1970, June 28). First SMA exhibition of local goods opens. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Singapore Manufacturing Federation, 2012, pp. 61–64; SCI creates $30m investment holding firm to aid members. (1996, June 5). The Straits Times, p. 39. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Singapore Manufacturing Federation, 2012, p. 66; Singapore Manufacturing Federation. (2012, January 27). Leading manufacturing, not just manufacturers [Press release]. Retrieved July 16, 2013, from http://www.smfederation.org.sg/PressRelease/SMa_80th_Anniversary_Launch_and_Lunar_New_Year_Celebrations_News_Release.pdf


The information in this article is valid as at 2013 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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