European Union launches scheme to encourage small firms to venture to South-east Asia

EU ambassador to Singapore Michael Pulch.
EU ambassador to Singapore Michael Pulch.PHOTO: SINGAPORE PRESS CLUB

The European Union launched a programme on Wednesday (June 15) to encourage and help more companies from Europe, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to venture into South-east Asia.

The EU Business Avenues in Southeast Asia programme will facilitate 20 weeklong business missions for up to 1,000 European SMEs across a range of sectors in Southeast Asia over the next five years.

The first such mission will focus on environment and water technologies. A group of European companies, all of which offer technologies that can be used to address environmental and water issues in Southeast Asia, have been selected to join this trip.

They will showcase their expertise at the Singapore International Water Week in July, then move on to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Future missions will focus on construction and building technologies, food and beverage, green energy technologies, healthcare and medical technologies and information and communication technologies.

EU ambassador to Singapore Dr Michael Pulch said: "We will bring the best Europe has to offer in these respective sectors. Our aim is to facilitate business meetings, technology transfer and cooperation between European companies and enterprises in Singapore and the broader region."

The EU Delegation to Singapore also launched the latest edition of the EU-Singapore Trade and Investment Report, which shows that EU-Singapore trade in goods rose by 7.7 per cent in 2015 from the year before, while bilateral trade in services increased 15.4 per cent.

The report also shows that the EU was Asean's largest investor, with 184 billion euros in fixed direct investment stocks held in the region, with 56 per cent in Singapore.