Singapore, a Southeast Asian city state whose early economic progress was closely tied to investments from foreign multinationals, presented a budget on Monday that has few incentives to draw more of such investors, one tax expert said.
Speaking to CNBC's "Rundown" on Tuesday, PwC Singapore's tax leader Chris Woo said the absence of such big-bang tax measures could mean that Singapore is feeling comfortable with its position amid an increasingly competitive tax environment.
"It's interesting to see there isn't anything spectacular that would grab the attention of the foreign investors. Last night in the U.S. time or European time, if someone was looking to invest in Singapore or was waiting for goodies in the budget, there weren't really any big goodies for these multinationals outside Singapore to attract them to Singapore," said Woo.
"Singapore, at this stage of global tax competitiveness, believes that it's at a good position at the moment. There could be some tweaks later on. Singapore of course has a very substantial incentive regime… it appears to be that Singapore is investing for the long term," he added.
The city state's low tax regime and its current tax incentives to lure multinationals has come under the spotlight in recent years. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's global initiative has worked to close the gap in international tax rules that allow companies to artificially shift profits across borders.
The OECD's initiative is known as the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project.
"The BEPS project seeks to ensure that companies are taxed where substantive economic activities are performed. Singapore supports this principle. We are, in consultation with businesses, refining our schemes and implementing the relevant standards," Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Monday while delivering his budget speech.