Singapore Trade Minister: Saudi Investment Initiatives have Captivated Our Companies

Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang attends an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Mexico City, Mexico, June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang attends an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Mexico City, Mexico, June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
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Singapore Trade Minister: Saudi Investment Initiatives have Captivated Our Companies

Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang attends an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Mexico City, Mexico, June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang attends an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Mexico City, Mexico, June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Singapore Trade Minister Lim Hng Kiang‎ said the initiatives recently announced in Saudi Arabia during the “Future Investment Initiative" Conference have raised the interest of Singaporean companies looking to increase their business activities and investments within the Kingdom and achieve mutual benefit.

“Given the great transformation that Saudi Arabia is seeking, Vision 2030 and the Future Investment Initiative are clear signals that the Kingdom welcomes foreign investment and takes concrete steps to diversify the Saudi economy,” Lim Hng Kiang told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper on the sidelines of the conference.

“These interesting Saudi initiatives are based on the determination to move away from traditional oil dependence and focus on different sectors such as health care, education, facilities management, logistics and exports; areas where Singaporean firms with relevant expertise can contribute to achieve the Kingdom’s plans,” he added.

Asked about relations between Saudi Arabia and Singapore, the trade minister said: “Saudi Arabia and Singapore enjoy strong trade and investment ties, supported by the GCC-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force in 2013.”

He went on to say: “Today, Riyadh is one of Singapore’s largest trading partners in the Middle East, where bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded 36 billion riyals (USD 9.6 billion) last year.”

Kiang pointed to the work of major Singaporean companies in the Saudi market, including Changi International Airport, which is working to enhance the efficiency of King Fahd International Airport in Dammam.

He noted that since the beginning of the “Changi” management of Dammam airport, passenger growth has increased significantly each year, stressing that Dammam Airport currently serves 36 airlines, with 65 cities inside and outside the region.

The minister noted that Singapore’s central geostrategic position in South-East Asia makes it a useful starting point for Saudi companies like Aramco and others looking for new opportunities in one of the fastest growing regions in the world. He also said he expected trade and investment to increase between the two sides.



German Economy Minister Says EU Open for Talks on China Tariffs

German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck poses for pictures alongside National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Chairman Zheng Shanjie following the opening session of the German-Chinese Climate and Transformation Dialogue in Beijing, China June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maria... Purchase Licensing Rights
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck poses for pictures alongside National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Chairman Zheng Shanjie following the opening session of the German-Chinese Climate and Transformation Dialogue in Beijing, China June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maria... Purchase Licensing Rights
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German Economy Minister Says EU Open for Talks on China Tariffs

German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck poses for pictures alongside National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Chairman Zheng Shanjie following the opening session of the German-Chinese Climate and Transformation Dialogue in Beijing, China June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maria... Purchase Licensing Rights
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck poses for pictures alongside National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Chairman Zheng Shanjie following the opening session of the German-Chinese Climate and Transformation Dialogue in Beijing, China June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maria... Purchase Licensing Rights

Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck said during his visit to China on Saturday that the European Union's door is open for discussions regarding EU tariffs on Chinese exports.

"What I suggested to my Chinese partners today is that the doors are open for discussions and I hope that this message was heard," he said in his first statement in Shanghai, after meetings with Chinese officials in Beijing, Reuters reported.

Habeck's visit is the first by a senior European official since Brussels proposed hefty duties on imports of Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs) to combat what the EU considers excessive subsidies.

Habeck said there is time for a dialogue between the EU and China on tariff issues before the duties come into full effect in November and that he believes in open markets but that markets require a level playing field.

Proven subsidies that are intended to increase the export advantages of companies can't be accepted, the minister said.

Another point of tension between Beijing and Berlin is China's support for Russia in its war in Ukraine. Habeck noted Chinese trade with Russia increased more than 40% last year.

Habeck said he had told Chinese officials that this was taking a toll on their economic relationship. "Circumventions of the sanctions imposed on Russia are not acceptable," he said, adding that technical goods produced in Europe should not end up on the battlefield via other countries.