SBF leads inaugural mission to Portugal and Switzerland to explore business opportunities
- Visit is timely as European economy is showing nascent signs of a turnaround
- Mission is in-conjunction with President Tony Tan’s Visit
3 May 2014 [Singapore] – The Singapore Business Federation (SBF), supported by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, will be leading a business mission to Portugal and Switzerland from 4 to 11 May 2014, in conjunction with President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s visit to the two countries. President Tan will be accompanied by Mr S Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Second Minister for Home Affairs, and Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman, Minister of State for National Development and Minister of State for Defence.
The 16-member business delegation led by Mr Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer of SBF, comprises of business leaders and senior representatives from diverse industries including business consultancy and financial services, general trading, ICT, logistics, pharmaceuticals, port management, real estate and venture capital.
Besides networking and establishing useful contacts with business and government representatives, mission delegates will also benefit from a better understanding of the market dynamics and opportunities that the two countries present. The schedule includes briefings by the ministries and government agencies of the host countries, industrial visits and business-matching sessions. SBF will also organise a bilateral business forums in both countries, where Minister S Iswaran will deliver a keynote address to profile Singapore’s business competence and open doors for possible collaborations between Singapore businesses and their European counterparts.
Attendees at the Singapore-Switzerland Business Forum will witness the signing of a contract between Mekong International Pte Ltd, a trading company based in Singapore, and Trivarga AG. Mekong International will be appointed as the exclusive distributor of the entire product line of Trivarga’s ok.- Energy Drinks in Singapore and Malaysia – an indication of the growing interests of European companies towards ASEAN and Asia.
“There are benefits for Swiss companies to use Singapore as their gateway into the growing ASEAN and Asia region with whom Singapore has strong ties. We are part of the ASEAN community and have several FTAs with our Asian counterparts, including South Korea, India and China. The on-going discussions to strengthen these ties through the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015 and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECEP), position Singapore as a natural gateway to an increasingly integrated and exciting region”, said Mr Ho.
With the European Free Trade Association agreement and the EU-Switzerland FTA in place, and the pending conclusion of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUS-FTA), the region is looking attractive as a trade and investment destination. The dismantling of market barriers provides Singapore companies opportunities to contemplate investments in assets, as well as access to over 700 million end-consumers.
As the apex business chamber, SBF has been proactively assisting Singapore companies to seek opportunities as the European economy stabilises. Last year, SBF organised two high-level business missions for over 30 Singapore-based companies to Europe, namely France, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.
This is the first mission that the SBF is organising to Portugal and Switzerland. More business-to-business exchanges are expected to be organised in future to drive further collaboration between business communities in Singapore and Europe.