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.