Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

June 4, 2008

S’pore to stay competitive with four-pronged strategy

Filed under: General,Singapore Economy — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:20 am

ASIA’S economic prospects look positive despite the financial turmoil in the United States, says Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, and Singapore is also expected to keep its economy competitive with a four-pronged game plan.

Speaking at the European Chamber of Commerce Europe Day Lunch yesterday, Mr Lim identified the four key areas that Singapore is focusing on such as strengthening growth in the manufacturing sector – the aerospace industry and biomedical sciences, in particular – and exploring new growth areas such as clean energy.

As clean energy is a cluster that presents economic opportunities and has the potential to grow, Singapore is striving for new collaborative projects in this sector with European companies.

Greater focus on innovation and R&D is also part of the strategy, especially in fields such as environmental and water technologies, interactive and digital media, as well as life sciences.

Mr Lim also urged companies to push for an EU-Singapore free trade agreement (FTA) within the framework of the regional Asean-EU FTA so as to foster ‘deeper bilateral trade liberalisation’. An EU-Singapore FTA would produce benefits such as tariff concessions, faster market entry for EU companies as well as intellectual property (IP) protection.

While Singapore’s bank secrecy laws could prove a sticking point in establishing such an FTA, Mr Lim pointed out that Singapore had managed to draft FTAs with both the US and Japan, and that the same could be done with the European Union.

The EU, which is Singapore’s second largest trading partner after Malaysia, chalked up a record $97.5 billion in bilateral trade with Singapore last year, 6.3 per cent higher than in 2006. Europe is also the largest source of foreign investment – over a third of incoming foreign direct investment (FDI) – in Singapore. Over 7,000 European companies have established a presence in Singapore.

‘One area that deserves to be improved is trade in agricultural and processed agricultural products,’ said Ambassador Holger Standertskjold, who is head of the European Commission’s Delegation in Singapore.

Goods from Europe currently account for about 11 per cent of the total agricultural and processed agricultural products in Singapore, but it is hoped that the figure will eventually double.

Source : Business Times – 10 May 2008

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