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SBF leads business delegation to Netherlands after Signing of EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

19 November 2018 [Singapore] -
The Singapore Business Federation’s (SBF) will be in the Kingdom of the Netherlands from today until 25 November 2018 for its first business mission to the northern European Union (EU) nation.

Organised in conjunction with President Halimah Yacob’s first state visit to the Netherlands, the mission is led by SBF Chairman Mr. S.S. Teo and Nominated Member of Parliament and Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) President Mr. Douglas Foo as Deputy Mission Leader. This mission is supported by Enterprise Singapore, the agency championing enterprise development by helping companies build capabilities, innovate and internationalise.

The 33-strong delegation comprises 24 companies and 4 business associations, of which 50 percent of the companies are SMEs. The companies largely hail from the sectors of agri-food; hospitality; real estate development; shipping and logistics; marine and offshore; medical; and general trading. Please see Annex A for the list of participating companies and business associations.

The delegation will visit cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven to gain a better understanding of the local business environment, the Government’s economic development plans, as well as explore opportunities for Singapore companies following the signing of the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA), the first FTA concluded between the EU and an ASEAN country.

Highlights of the business mission include:

1. Netherlands – Singapore Business Forum

• The Forum will be graced by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, President Halimah Yacob and the Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb

• It will see Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) being inked between Singapore and Dutch companies, as well as presentations and panels on opportunities of doing business in the Netherlands and the benefits and implementation of the EUSFTA.

• The Forum will be followed by a networking and business matching session between the Singapore delegates and Dutch companies.

2. Networking Session with High-Level Government Officials

• Delegation members will have the opportunity to interact with President Halimah and accompanying high-level government officials.

• The networking session will allow delegates to provide feedback on the business environment and market opportunities.

3. Sector-specific Meetings with Dutch Government Ministry and Companies

• Meeting with the Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation will be organised.

• Delegates will also call on key representatives of Dutch multinational corporations such as Royal Dutch Shell and Royal Ahold Delhaize, as well as with leading Dutch companies in industry sectors aligned to the delegation’s interests.

The Netherlands, the sixth-largest economy in the European Union and a key player in the European supply chain and transportation nexus, provides a strategic location for Singapore companies to serve markets within the European continent. It boasted a GDP of US$777.2 billion in 2016 and is projected to achieve economic growth of 2.8% in 2018, supported by its key industries of food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining and electrical machinery manufacturing.

Mission Leader and SBF Chairman Mr S.S. Teo said, “Singapore is the first country in ASEAN to formalise an FTA with the EU. SBF is committed to support the successful implementation of the EUSFTA by promoting the new economic opportunities it offers to our companies, especially Singapore SMEs. SBF regards the Netherlands as a promising market that offers business opportunities across sectors that are accessible and attractive, and at sizes digestible by Singapore companies. With its value-added market conditions and linkages, the Netherlands is an ideal launchpad for Singapore companies who want to jump-start their European operations.”

Deputy Mission Leader and SMF President Mr Douglas Foo said, “SMF is excited about the business opportunities that the recently signed EUSFTA can bring to
Singapore companies in the manufacturing sector. SMF helps our manufacturers form strategic partnerships with EU companies through the SMF-led Enterprise Europe Network Singapore. We are delighted that President Halimah is making a state visit to the Netherlands, which will certainly strengthen the goodwill between the two countries and open doors for Singapore business people.”

Mr Foo added, “The Netherlands offers good business opportunities for our Singapore manufacturers, especially the SMEs, to collaborate and partner together with Dutch companies in a wide spectrum of industries including agro and aqua technologies, food research and technology, environment, water and sustainable technologies, medical and healthcare, industrial 4.0 transformation and other business fields. The SMF is confident that this mission by SBF, which has support at the highest level of both governments, will result in better understanding and sharing between Dutch and Singapore manufacturers and lead to greater business cooperation and partnerships.”

Mr Jimmy Leong, shareholder of Leung Kai Fook Medical Company which manufactures Axe Brand Universal Oil said, “In Europe, the Singapore brand today is much more recognised. We are optimistic that the EUSFTA will bring about greater expansion of our brand beyond the Benelux market, where we have recently inked an exclusive distributorship agreement with our Dutch counterpart.”

To date, more than 60 Singapore companies have established a presence in the Netherlands including CWT Limited, Olam, Keppel Corporation, Franklin Offshore Group, Samwoh Corporation, SIA Cargo and Singapore Airlines.

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