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Russia, Singapore business forum opens to foster closer ties
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16:28, April 01, 2008

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Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang Tuesday urged businessmen from Singapore and Russia to extend cooperation in infrastructure development and the retail sector.

Because some 1 trillion U.S. dollars will be dedicated to infrastructure projects under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP)project structure. In addition, Russia is now embarking on new initiatives such as tourism and port special economic zones, Lim said at the third annual Russia-Singapore business forum.

As to the retail or lifestyle sector, Lim noted that, the middle-income class in Russia is growing - estimated 30 million Russians, they make up 20 percent of the total population. This figure is set to grow further in the near future, leading to growing demand for consumer services such as good restaurants and entertainment facilities.

The forum opened to around 600 delegates - half of them were from Russia and the others from Singapore and other Asian countries. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Naryshkin, who is visiting Singapore now, also attended the forum.

Businessmen discussed the opportunities and issues related to doing business in Asia through Singapore. Delegates also heard from the Russian governors on updates and developments in various regions in Russia.

Many initiatives are in the pipeline to further strengthen bilateral collaboration between Singapore and Russia.

Several business delegations from Singapore in sectors including infrastructure, food, education, healthcare, lifestyle and automotive, will head to Russia and Ukraine this year to better understand the market and where their products and services may be needed.

According to economy promoter International Enterprise Singapore, about 100 Singapore companies will be making their way to Moscow in June this year to promote understanding, dialogue and collaboration between the business and arts communities of Singapore and Russia.

This is part of an international exchange program called "Spotlight Singapore", organized by The Art House which serves as an economic and cultural gateway to new and emerging markets around the world for Singapore.

Singapore businesses are actively capitalizing on the opportunities available in Russia. Companies such as Shiro Corporation, Ascott Group and City Developments, have entered the Russia market.

Singapore's total trade with Russia was 1.88 billion Singapore dollars (about 1.36 billion U.S. dollars) last year, more than double the amount of 880 million Singapore dollars in 2002.


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