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Singapore Links

Thursday, November 8, 2007

At a meeting of the Singapore British Business Council Meg made the following remarks.


I’m delighted to be at this reception for the 16th Plenary of the Singapore British Business Council. It’s my pleasure to welcome the Co-Chairs, Sir Mark Moody Stuart and Dr Albert Hong, all the Council’s members and guests, to what promises to be an extremely productive day at the British Library tomorrow.


The aim of the Business Council is to build on the extremely valuable relationship between Singapore and the UK. An aim I can say that is fully supported by the UK Government.


Trade between Singapore and the UK is significant. Our exports in goods and services to Singapore in 2006 were 4.8bn, with imports from Singapore in the same period being 4.7bn. The UK is Singapore’s tenth largest trading partner and Singapore is by far the UK’s largest trading partner in South East Asia, our tenth largest export market outside of Europe.


The UK is also the largest overseas investor in Singapore, with long-established major companies such as Rolls Royce, BP and Shell. Reciprocal investment stands at 2.4bn, with interests ranging from financial services to food processing. The traditional investment areas of oil, petrochemicals, engineering and aviation remain strong.


At the same time the Singapore British Business Council has supported Singapore’s drive towards life sciences through its life science committee. This was a focus of the SBBC visit to York two years ago, encouraging UK companies and institutions to take advantage of the outstanding facilities available in Singapore’s biopolis, a cluster of biomedical operations and new-build premises that were formally opened in 2003.


I’m pleased that a high level delegation of companies from the Singapore Photonics Association will be visiting UK areas of photonics expertise in Wales, the Midlands and Ipswich. It is good to see that this visit has come as a direct result of the highly successful scoping mission to Singapore undertaken by Photonics Cluster UK in November 2006 on behalf of UK Trade & Investment. That mission highlighted the synergies between the two photonics communities and the trade opportunities which could be enhanced.


Photonics is a high growth, emerging sector worth over 182 billion worldwide in 2005 and forecast to be worth close to 500 billion worldwide by 2013. Both Singapore and the UK are strong players of global standing. These visits should result in increased co-operation, leading in turn to increased business for all partners in this important new field.


There is a growing demand for energy efficient "intelligent buildings", and I note that there will be a session tomorrow covering Sustainable Energy and Green Technologies. This is a critical area for Singaporean construction firms, active in many parts of the world, and a field where UK expertise is world leading. I’m pleased we have existing links to build on; with Singaporeans attending Reading University to gain Masters Degrees in what was the first course in the world at this level.


I know that UK companies exporting to Singapore find a dynamic, very well regulated and transparent business environment. They then can easily venture out into the ASEAN region, often in partnership or joint venture with Singaporean companies. Equally, Singaporean companies find the UK a large, sophisticated and open economy with flexible capital markets and world leading technologies. Not to speak of ease of entry into the European Union and its 490million population.


Talking of the European Union, I understand that thanks to the efforts of Mike Shears, Arup have offered a private tour of the new HS1 facility at St Pancras station. This important link, which opens next week, will bring European culture, business and people even closer together. This will be followed by a dinner hosted by Dr Albert Hong, preceded by discussions on financial services opportunities in Singapore.


Thank you and I hope that you have a very productive and enjoyable day.

Associated Photograph :

Meg with the Co-chairs, Dr Albert Hong, MD RSP Architects, and Sir Mark Moody Stuart, director Anglo American.

Meg with the Co-chairs, Dr Albert Hong, MD RSP Architects, and Sir Mark Moody Stuart, director Anglo American.

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