S'pore, New Zealand ink two pacts on trade, food and tech innovation

Two new agreements signed between Singapore and New Zealand yesterday will see both countries work together closely to accelerate the innovation of trade, food and technology.

The Enhanced Partnership for Growth Arrangement between agencies New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Enterprise Singapore is meant to encourage business leaders from both countries to share expertise and knowledge, and deepen business alliances in areas of common interest such as trade, connectivity and emerging technology.

The Singapore Institute of Technology also signed a collaboration agreement with The FoodBowl, a New Zealand government-supported food innovation network, to develop sustainable food innovations that benefit people and the planet.

The signings were witnessed by visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor during a breakfast session at 67 Pall Mall at Shaw Centre.

Ms Ardern said she was excited about what the collaborations meant in bringing the two countries together to solve global problems in the face of an ageing population, growing food waste and increasing consumer demand for nutrition.

"So often our relationships are defined by competition. And, yes, there are advantages to maintaining a competitive edge in order to drive solutions, but some solutions we must strive towards together, if we are to solve them," she said.

Local companies stand to benefit from new partnerships

She also cited Mr O'Connor: "He often says it is one thing as a nation to aspire to be the best in the world.

"But as major food producers, as exporters, as innovators, as problem solvers - we need to aspire to be the best for the world."

She left Singapore yesterday and headed to Japan for the next leg of her trip.

New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Singapore Maggie Christie said in a statement that both agreements cemented the strategic importance of Singapore and New Zealand's business networks, as well as the shared values of both countries.

She said: "We are both small island nations that are focused on sustainability, food security and future-proofing our trade, and both countries have incredibly passionate and talented people who are working together to make that happen."

Enterprise Singapore managing director and chief operating officer Jeffrey Siow said local companies that stand to benefit from these new partnerships include land transport firm ComfortDelgro, which has been awarded a $1.13 billion contract to operate rail services in Auckland, and agri-food giant Olam, whose subsidiary Olam Food Ingredients has confirmed plans to invest more than $100 million in a new dairy processing facility in Waikato.

Smaller firms such as rental e-scooter company Neuron Mobility and eco-tourism-focused company Big Tiny, which builds eco-friendly "tiny houses", also have a presence in New Zealand, he added.

"New Zealand is a country that is familiar to many of us," said Mr Siow.

"They are open, they are connected, they are rules-based and they are very pro-trade and pro-business. So, we think that our companies will find fertile ground to work there."

Shiok Meats chief executive Sandhya Sriram, who shared her company's experience at the event, said the agreement inked yesterday will open doors for the firm to New Zealand. The company makes lab-cultivated meat and seafood.

She said it will help "in terms of the connections, to work with the local universities there, the local innovation hubs there, also for us to expand our markets and to do consumer studies".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2022, with the headline S'pore, New Zealand ink two pacts on trade, food and tech innovation. Subscribe