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Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) signed on Singapore Business Federation’s First Business Mission to Netherlands

23 November 2018 [Singapore] -
Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed on the Singapore Business Federation’s (SBF) inaugural business mission to the Netherlands from 19 to 25 November 2018, of which one was inked by SBF and two by participating companies, Barramundi Asia and Zener Maritime Solutions.

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 are mainly 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.

During the week, SBF signed an MoU with its Dutch counterpart, the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) and NLinBusiness, a Dutch public-private initiative focused on promoting trade and international business development amongst Dutch small- and medium-sized companies. Through the agreement signed on Nov 21, the parties hope to deepen business relations, develop stronger economic cooperation and promote the exchange of business opportunities, research and technical expertise, among others.

Mission Leader and SBF Chairman Mr S.S. Teo said, “Singapore has a long-standing relationship and deep economic ties with the Netherlands. The Netherlands is Singapore’s largest European investor and also Singapore’s third largest trading partner in the EU. I am confident the partnership between the countries will only go from strength to strength.”

He added, “Netherlands and Singapore are similar in many ways; we are both relatively small countries with strong international outlooks and are efficient gateways to each other’s continents. Through the agreement, SBF hopes to help more Singapore companies establish their foothold in Europe. Likewise, we want to help Dutch companies ride the tide of robust growth in Southeast Asia and beyond.”

At the Netherlands-Singapore Business Forum on Nov 22, two participating companies also inked MoUs. Barramundi Asia signed an agreement with Wageningen Livestock Research to develop an efficient and effective breeding programme for its farms in Singapore and Australia, while Zener Maritime Solutions signed an agreement with Stolt Tankers for a strategic partnership on green technologies for shipping.

Mr Andrew Kwan, Co-Chairman of Barramundi Asia, said, “As one of the largest companies in the world farming barramundi in the ocean, we are always seeking, evaluating and adopting leading-edge sustainable farming practices and aquaculture technologies. This is achieved through our collaborations with world-class institutions of higher learning and research in these fields.

“The continual improvement to our breeding programme using technology and superior genetics through the natural selection methodology is key and our partnership with Wageningen Livestock Research will be another important step in this direction.”

Jagdeep Singh Bhatia, Managing Director of Zener Maritime Solutions, said, “The shipping industry is the engine of global trade. As a fast-growing ship inspection and engineering services company, we strive to keep ahead with the latest innovations and technology and through this partnership with Stolt Tankers, we hope to make a difference by helping the industry mitigate its environmental impact.”

During the mission, the delegation visited 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. Based on their interests, they also went on specialized programme tracks tailored around three key industry sectors: Agri-Food and General Trading; Logistics; and Marine and Offshore.

Highlights of the business mission include the Netherlands-Singapore Business Forum which was graced by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, President Halimah Yacob and the Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb and followed by a networking and business matching session between the Singapore delegates and Dutch companies.

Apart from networking sessions with high-level government officials, the delegation also held sector-specific meetings with the Dutch government ministry and companies, including the Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and Dutch multinational corporations such as Royal Dutch Shell and Signify (formerly known as Philips Lighting).”

The Netherlands, the sixth-largest economy in the European Union1 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 20162 and is projected to achieve economic growth of 2.8% in 20183, supported by its key industries of food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining and electrical machinery manufacturing.

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.

This mission is supported by Enterprise Singapore, the agency championing enterprise development by helping companies build capabilities, innovate and internationalise.

Annex A: List of participating organisations

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