Parliament: 3 Singapore banks have go-ahead to open total of 15 branches in India

Pedestrians walk by a State Bank of India bank branch in Mumbai, India on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013. Singapore granted qualifying full bank privileges to three Indian banks. Two have been approved so far: the State Bank of India and ICICI Bank. -- PHOT
Pedestrians walk by a State Bank of India bank branch in Mumbai, India on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013. Singapore granted qualifying full bank privileges to three Indian banks. Two have been approved so far: the State Bank of India and ICICI Bank. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Three Singapore banks have been given the go-ahead to open a total of 15 branches in India - 11 of which have been approved so far - under the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Ceca) between the two countries.

Similarly, Singapore granted qualifying full bank privileges to three Indian banks, said Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang on Wednesday. Two have been approved so far: the State Bank of India and ICICI Bank.

Both countries signed the Ceca in 2005 in order to increase trade and investments and expand bilateral cooperation on maritime and military security. A first review on these issues was completed in 2007, while a second one is ongoing, he said.

Since the agreement, bilateral trade has grown by 50 per cent, from $16.6 billion in 2005 to $25.5 billion in 2013, Mr Lim said. Foreign direct investment from India to Singapore also grew from $1.3 billion in 2005 to $20 billion in 2012, or more than 15 times.

Besides increased bilateral trade and investments, the Ceca also eases business operations by allowing temporary entry to both countries for certain people, such as business visitors, professionals and intra-corporate transferees.

Mr Lim added that Singapore continues to apply normal employment and immigration measures to regulate their entry and stay.

He was replying to a parliamentary question from Workers' Party and Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam.