SBF leads business mission to Germany and Spain
Delegates to explore business opportunities and capitalise on the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA)
1 February 2015 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF), supported by International Enterprise Singapore, will be leading a business mission to Germany and Spain from 1 to 7 February 2015, in conjunction with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s official visit to both countries. PM Lee will be accompanied by Mr S Iswaran, Second Minister for Trade and Industry; Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Law and Education; Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Minister of State for Defence and National Development and Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District.
The 26-member strong business delegation will be led by Mr Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer of SBF. The delegation comprises business leaders and senior representatives from diverse industries including automotive, banking and financial services, commodities trading, consultancy, digital media, education, energy, hospitality, information and communications technology, manufacturing and real estate.
The objective of the mission is to enable participants to gain first-hand understanding of the overall market dynamics and opportunities in Germany and Spain against the backdrop of the EU-Singapore FTA (EUSFTA) that is expected to come into force soon. More importantly, the mission seeks to help Singapore businesses establish business and official contacts from the two countries.
Germany plays a vital role in Singapore's economic development
The two countries have a longstanding, excellent business partnership and German companies have been very active in Singapore for decades. The Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SGC), co-organiser for the Germany leg of the business mission, welcomes the opportunity to accompany Singaporean companies to Germany. “Visiting Dresden and Berlin offers the opportunity to the visitors from Singapore to meet German companies that operate globally and also to explore the German capital which had a tremendous development in the last 25 years since German unification. 50 years of diplomatic ties and trusted partnership between Germany and Singapore are a very suitable occasion to strengthen the business ties and develop them further. The SGC has many opportunities to support Singaporean and German companies in finding business partners and providing the important insights on how to do business”, said Dr Tim Philippi, co-mission leader and Executive Director of SGC.
Home-grown Makara Capital, a global financial services and fund management firm whose investment strategy is sharply focused on innovation and ownership of Intellectual Property, is currently working with a German SME that is a world leader in the alternative energy space. “Armed with defensible and proven technology, our targeted investment of US$50-80 million aims to anchor this global player in Singapore and emerging Asia including ASEAN, India and China”, said Mr Ali Ijaz Ahmand, Chief Executive Officer of Makara Capital.
Spain as a gateway into Latin America
Spain is well-positioned as a gateway into Latin America, where the economy is expected to grow by 2.2% in 2015. Singapore companies can leverage the know-how, expertise and experience of Spanish companies to gain facilitated access to the growing Latin America market or optimise their existing connections.
During the mission, Mr S Iswaran and Mr Jaime Garcia Legaz, Secretary of State for Trade of Spain, will be addressing the Singapore and Spanish companies in attendance at a Business Dialogue session organised by SBF in Madrid. The delegates will also be attending information seminars organised by the relevant ministries and government agencies, industrial visits and business-matching sessions.
These events serve to profile Singapore’s businesses and to open doors for possible collaborations between Singapore enterprises and her Spanish counterparts.
Strengthening bilateral trade links with Germany and Spain
Germany is Singapore’s most important trading partner in the European Union. Total bilateral trade between Germany and Singapore registered S$20.9 billion in 2013, making Germany Singapore’s 13th largest trading partner worldwide.
According to International Enterprise Singapore, bilateral trade between Spain and Singapore registered S$1.78 billion in 2013. Spain is Singapore’s 45th largest trading partner globally and 9th within the European Union.
Business facilitation between Singapore and Europe
SBF, as the apex business chamber, has been proactively assisting Singapore companies to venture overseas to seek opportunities in the European markets. SBF is encouraged by the progress of the EUSFTA and hopes to see more engagement and synergy between Singapore companies and their German and Spanish counterparts.
“There are particularly more avenues for collaboration between our small and medium enterprises, which forms the bulk of our business communities and account for significant economic activities and employment. Germany and Spain promote innovation and productivity as strategies for sustainable growth and such an environment is conducive to foster meaningful partnerships”, said Mr Ho.
This is the second mission that the Singapore Business Federation is organising to Germany and the first to Spain.