Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry signed two Memorandums Of Understanding (MOUs) with Russia last week, during a visit there by Mr. Lee Yi Shyan, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development. Rikvin expects these agreements to step up economic ties between both nations.
Accompanied by a delegation of officials and business representatives, Mr. Lee’s trip to Russia from June 16 to 20 included a meeting with the Governor of St. Petersburg. They signed a protocol agreement to pursue the expansion of various sectors of their economy. Mr. Lee also co-chaired the second Singapore – St. Petersburg Joint Working Group meeting in St. Petersburg.
Established last year to promote business ties between Singapore and St. Petersburg, the Joint Working Group saw discussions on potential partnerships in urban planning and e-government services. This was complemented by a business forum that was held to enable Russian companies network with Singaporean counterparts.
In addition, Mr. Lee met with the Minister and Head of External Economic and International Relations in Moscow, where he witnessed the signing of a MOU between their Department for External Economic and International Relations and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise. The MOU will bolster the cooperation between both countries in urban planning, culture, tourism, and sports.
As the ninth largest economy in the world, Russia’s bilateral trade with Singapore hit S$7.14 billion last year, registering a 17% annual growth rate. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, a rising number of Russian businesses have set up their regional headquarters and trading operations in Singapore to better access the Asia-Pacific markets. This trend has been contributed by the agreements between Singapore and Russia, which enables the free exchange of goods, capital and labour.
Following Medvedev’s visit in 2009, both countries embarked on high level dialogues and eventually signed the Russia-Singapore Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) in 2010. This agreement was inked to guarantee the free transfers of capital, returns, proceeds and other payments, and assure free and equitable treatment for Singaporean investors and investments in Russia. On top of that, both countries had also signed an MOU on Economic Cooperation in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in 2006, which paved the way for Singaporean companies like Jurong Consultants and RSP Architects to develop master-planned industrial parks in Russia.
According to enterprise development agency IE Singapore, two Russian economic sectors that have tapped the expertise of Singaporean companies are urban planning and development, and e-government services.
URBAN PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Many Russian cities’ urban population are rapidly growing and are in need of infrastructural development. Singapore’s robust track record in urban planning and township development opens doors for Singaporean companies to collaborate with Russian regional governments and develop industrial parks, technoparks, airports and seaports.
The expanding prevalence of infocomm technology, speedy progress of e-businesses and increasing Internet accessibility among Russians have ushered the arrival of e-government services in Russia. The Russian government is actively seeking to tap on Singapore’s competencies to implement massive e-government programmes that are worth several billion dollars over the next 10 years.
“The cooperation between Singapore and the world’s largest nation has improved considerably in recent years. These MOUs will make it easier for Russian companies to tap Singapore business incorporation to gain from the city-state’s development experience and economic achievements. It will also pave the way for future collaborations that will benefit both economies”, asserted Ms. Christine Lim, General Manager at Rikvin.
Established in 1998, Rikvin has collaborated with thousands of investors, entrepreneurs and professionals who want to work or do business in Singapore. The areas of expertise for Rikvin entail Singapore company incorporation, accounting, taxation and other related corporate services. Rikvin is also a licensed employment agency and offers a full range of Singapore work visa services for expatriates who wish to relocate to Singapore.
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Singapore and Russia Sign MOU to Increase Economic Cooperation: Rikvin