Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Helping firms enter emerging markets

More businesses are venturing to emerging markets which offer opportunities for those keen on tapping less familiar markets.
More businesses are venturing to emerging markets which offer opportunities for those keen on tapping less familiar markets. PHOTO: ST FILE

More businesses are venturing to emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, which offer opportunities for those keen on tapping less familiar markets.

There are currently about 60 Singapore-based companies with operations in more than 40 sub-Saharan countries - a number that is likely to grow, said Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman yesterday.

His ministry is working with the Trade and Industry Ministry to seek out economic opportunities in the continent, in sectors such as logistics and port development, he added.

During the debate on his ministry's budget, Dr Maliki also highlighted the "good progress" made in Latin America, where trade has more than doubled in the past decade.

There are now about 130 companies doing business there, he told Ms Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson) and Mr Edwin Tong (Marine Parade GRC), who asked how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping companies enter emerging markets.

Besides Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, Singapore continues to seek opportunities in other regions such as South Asia, Central Asia, Russia and Turkey, said Dr Maliki.

He also elaborated on Singapore's engagement with the Middle East: "As a small state, we maintain friendly ties with all who want to befriend us, including those from the Middle East."

Responding to Mr Sitoh Yih Pin (Potong Pasir), Dr Maliki said Singapore, despite its close relations with Israel, has taken a principled, consistent and longstanding position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He reiterated that the two-state solution is the only way to bring peace and security to both peoples.

The Republic has good relations with both Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, as well as many Arab countries, he noted.

Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2017, with the headline 'Helping firms enter emerging markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe