Daily Briefing: Trade minister says world’s biggest trade deal to be set in Singapore by November; Blockchain lures more job seekers in Singapore

And Grab launches merchant deal rewards for drivers.

The regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which is poised to be the world’s biggest trade deal will be set by a summit in Singapore on November, trade minister Chan Chun Sing said.

“Yes. We are looking for that broad agreement, that milestone, to be achieved … when the leaders meet at the end of the year,” Chan said. However, he said it was not clear when a final deal would be signed.
RCEP includes the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and the world’s No.2 economy, China.

The deal does not include the United States, which is locked in a trade spat with China and pulled out of another broad, international trade agreement in 2017 called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The White House said on Friday that US President Donald Trump would skip the November gathering of leaders in Singapore.

Main Asian markets including Singapore, Australia, India, and Malaysia recorded a higher interest in blockchain roles, data from job search engine Indeed found.

Due to its relative nascency, however, many of those entering the cryptocurrency and blockchain-related space are coming from other industries.

“We hardly ever hire from inside of crypto because most people inside of crypto are very inexperienced. You have very, very few people who are experienced who get into the crypto industry,” said Julian Hosp, co-founder of Singapore-based crypto wallet and card start-up TenX.
Read more here.

If job postings are any indication, that trend is going to grow. Recruitment firm Robert Walters said it has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of roles related to blockchain or cryptocurrencies in Asia since 2017, with developers with Python language skills among the most highly sought after.

Grab rolled out the Hitch Club beta version for the company’s GrabHitch drivers where everyday drivers canget merchant deals. 

By September 1, every GrabHitch driver will get 10 Hitch Club points for every $1 in fare that they collect. Drivers will get the points multiplied for completing rides on weekends.

These benefits will include cashback up to 11 per cent on Shell fuel and S$150 cashback for car insurance with Etiqa, 5 per cent and 8 per cent reduction in platform fees for Pro and Champ tiers, respectively, and cost refund for 30 per cent if Champ tiers holders reported the event wherein the rider doesn’t show up within 24 hours.

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