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Hamdan bin Zayed meets Singaporean Prime Minister

posted on 10/03/2009: 767 views



Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, received yesterday at the Presidential Palace in the capital city of Singapore UAE Deputy Prime Minister H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is on a two-nation tour of Singapore and Indonesia.

During the meeting, they discussed avenues of cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the areas of economy, trade, education and activation of bilateral agreements.

They also discussed their countries' economic situations in the light of the global economic crisis and its effects on the global economy. They shared views on ways and mechanisms that would help minimise the crisis' negative effects on the global economy.

Sheikh Hamdan reiterated the UAE's commitment to boosting bilateral ties for the mutual interest of the two friendly countries and peoples. He said the UAE remained focused on diversifying its economy through the development of its non-oil sector with emphasis on renewable energy on which the country had made a giant stride by establishing renewable energy-based projects.

The UAE Deputy Premier urged Singaporean companies and investors to seize the enticing economic opportunities and incentives being offered by the UAE to expand their investment base in the UAE to boost joint cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides expressed total confidence in their countries' ability to overcome the global economic crisis, in view of the strong capabilities of both the UAE and Singapore, stressing that the private sector, investors and businessmen from the two sides need to play their roles effectively by expanding the areas of their joint investments to other areas.

Relations between Singapore and the UAE, in general and Abu Dhabi, in particular, have witnessed rapid growth. The two countries have taken pragmatic steps to further boost trade relations and joint cooperation in various areas, with the UAE emerging strongly as Singapore's preferred hub in the Middle East.

The UAE is currently Singapore's second major trade partner in the Middle East region. According to report issued by the UAE Embassy, trade volume between the two friendly countries have witnessed remarkable growth from 2002 to 2008 with trade balance in favour of the UAE.

The report shows that total bilateral trade within the period stood at about US$43.996 billion with UAE export to Singapore accounting to US$23.956 billion, while UAE's import from Singapore stood at US$20.39 billion.

Last year, bilateral trade between the two countries accounted for US$9.789 billion with UAE export to Singapore accounting for US$5.905 billion while import from Singapore stood at US$3.884 billion.

In tourism, 41,054 UAE tourists visited Singapore in 2007, up by 20.7% compared to the number that visited Singapore in 2006. Shopping is the main tourist attraction in Singapore, which boasts of the some of the finest and modern shopping malls in South East Asia.

The report also showed that Singapore is also making efforts to be the regional hub for UAE companies. UAE investment in Singapore is witnessing significant and steady growth as major UAE oil companies engage in a number of projects, particularly in the areas of oil refining and storage, wharf infrastructure and ground handling services at Singapore's Changi International Airport.

A number of UAE companies have also made Singapore as their regional hub from where they expand their activities to other member states of ASEAN and East Asia. Some of these companies are Borouge Private, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) and DNATA.

Emirates Air and Etihad Airways also provide regular flights to Singapore to facilitate the transporting of persons and goods to and from Singapore.

UAE investment in Singapore has also witnessed a great in the past two years. For example, Dubai government-owned DP World has boosted its investment in Singapore by a total of US$100 million, spread across its indirect investments in real estate and some companies enlisted on the Singapore Financial Market. DP world is eying more investments in the hospitality sector and other potential areas of investment.

The report says bilateral relations between the two countries, which are based on mutual respect and protection of mutual interest, continued to grow stronger.

It says in spite of the fact that the current global economic crisis has negatively affected the volume of bilateral trade between many countries of the world in 2008, trade exchange between the UAE and Singapore surprisingly appreciated by 22% last year compared to 2007. The report attributed the growth to efforts made by the two countries in the past years to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in all areas. The growth is highly expected to rise this year following the signing of free trade agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Singapore on December 15, 2009. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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