RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN
Published — Friday 22 March 2013
Last update 22 March 2013 4:29 am
Singapore is set to become a hub for Saudi manufactured products in Asia.
This was predicted at the conclusion of the Saudi-Singapore Joint Business Council held in Riyadh yesterday.
Abdullah Al-Meleih, co-chairman of the Saudi-Singapore Business Council, told Arab News that the Kingdom has made a proposal to make Singapore a pivotal center for marketing and distributing Saudi products in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Brunei.
“We are working out the modalities for the implementation of the proposal, which will be announced soon,” he added.
Currently the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation uses Singapore as a base for its petrochemical products.
The Saudi team was headed at the meeting by Abdullah Al-Mobty, chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, and the Singapore team by Lee Yi Shyan, senior minister of state for trade and industry.
Representatives from seven Singaporean companies and business magnates from the capital were present at the bilateral discussions.
Al-Meleih said the meeting aimed to promote business cooperation between the two countries and further explore new areas of collaboration in the field of investments. It also provided a good platform for the parties to confront the challenges faced by the two countries in dealing with each other.
He also said that as agreed earlier, a company worth SR 100 million will be set up soon under a joint venture between Singapore and the Kingdom. The company will deal with areas of cooperation in energy, training, education and information technology, he noted, recalling that a memorandum of understanding was signed as a follow-up to the last business council meeting in Singapore.
Al-Meleih said the restructuring company will have offices in both Riyadh and Singapore. The company aims to invest in projects worth SR 1.5 billion in the Kingdom.
In response to a request made by one of the Saudi participants to allow Saudis to enter Singapore on visas issued at the port of entry, Shyan said the ministries of interior of the two governments predetermine visa requirements under a bilateral agreement.
“At present, we issue multiple entry visas from two to five years, which is good enough for business and leisure travelers visiting the country,” he noted, pointing out that these entry visas are issued by the embassy in Riyadh inside three working days.
He quoted the latest figures to say that trade between the two countries was worth 23 billion Singaporean dollars.