Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang acknowledges Norway as a trusted partner
Norway is Singapore’s eighthlargest trading partner in Europe, and its fourth-largest investor from that continent. Norwegian foreign direct investment in Singapore as of 2014 was SGD 23 billion.
“Singapore is home to the largest concentration of Norwegian businesses in Asia. DNV GL, the world’s largest marine and offshore classification society, launched its first independent test centre for substation automation outside of Europe in Singapore,” he said.
“Kongsberg has its regional headquarters in Singapore for dealing with aerospace and offshore oil and gas in Asia.”
Both countries have benefitted from a European Free Trade Association (EFTA) trade agreement, with total trade last year reaching almost SGD 10 billion. Singapore is the largest trading partner for both Norway and EFTA in ASEAN, making it the gateway to the region.
“The global economic slowdown has prompted companies to look to ASEAN as its outlook remains relatively optimistic,” said Mr Lim. “The Asian Development Bank predicts the middle class will rise from 24% of the population in ASEAN in 2010 to 65% in 2030.”
“Southeast Asia is becoming perhaps the most exciting final demand market in the world.
“The ASEAN Economic Community [ AEC] will make the region a more compelling market and production base. The AEC promotes greater economic integration among ASEAN member countries, making it easier to do business.
“But Southeast Asia remains a mix of unique cultures with differing levels of development. Singapore’s proven track record of doing business with Norway makes it a natural partner to help Norwegian companies navigate the complexities of the region’s markets.”
He described Singapore as a reliable launchpad to manage regional operations with its robust intellectual property regime, transparent government, and consistent and predictable pro-business policies. Singapore’s arrangement of 21 freetrade agreements can help Norwegian companies gain preferential access to markets in Asia and beyond, said Mr Lim.