IE S'pore, UOB ink pact to help firms expand overseas

International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and United Overseas Bank (UOB) yesterday signed a framework agreement to combine forces to help more Singapore companies in cross-border trade and internationalisation.

The aim is to provide local companies with customised trade and financing solutions and deeper access to connections, partners and professional service providers across Asia, and will include business tie-ups with UOB's global clients, said a joint statement.

The agreement taps the rising potential of Asean, where intra-regional trade almost doubled to US$600 billion (S$859 billion) last year. It is expected to hit US$1 trillion in 2020. The region's growing middle class, increasing connectivity and expansion of e-commerce will create greater demand for goods and services, which will in turn drive the increase in cross-border and B2B transactions, the statement added.

The collaboration "helps IE Singapore and UOB to reach out to more Singapore companies, offering them better market insights, business intelligence and a more comprehensive choice of financial solutions", said Mr Chua Taik Him, IE Singapore deputy chief executive officer. He added: "We hope to drive the growth of wholesale trade and overseas expansion of Singapore companies."

Mr Frederick Chin, UOB managing director and head of group wholesale banking, agreed. "Through our collaboration with IE Singapore, we will be able to deepen further our support of Singapore companies as they spread their wings overseas," he said.

Under the memorandum of understanding, UOB will help IE Singapore to build and strengthen wholesale trade here by providing advice and solutions on trade financing for firms expanding overseas. They will also develop initiatives and financial tools to ease the internationalisation process, like piloting new fintech solutions.

In addition, UOB will offer customised financial solutions, such as supply-chain financing, cross- border financing, venture debt, cash management and settlement, as well as services like public listings, bond issuances and corporate finance advisory.

IE Singapore and UOB aim to help 200 local firms over the next three years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2016, with the headline 'IE S'pore, UOB ink pact to help firms expand overseas'. Print Edition | Subscribe