Boosting business ties with the Netherlands

SBF’s inaugural business mission to the European hub paves the way for more Singapore companies establishing a foothold on the continent

Singapore Business Federation (SBF) led its first-ever business mission to the Netherlands in November 2018 in conjunction with President Halimah Yacob’s first state visit to the European Union (EU) nation.

The mission was led by SBF Chairman Mr. S.S. Teo and Nominated Member of Parliament and Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) President Mr. Douglas Foo as Deputy Mission Leader. This is SBF’s first business mission to an EU nation after the signing of the landmark EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. Inked on 19 October 2018, the agreement is expected to be ratified and go into force in 1Q 2019

The 33-strong delegation comprised 24 companies and 4 business associations. The companies were mainly from the agri-food, hospitality, real estate development, shipping and logistics, marine and offshore, medical, and general trading sectors.

Singapore has a long-standing relationship and deep economic ties with the Netherlands. It is Singapore’s largest European investor and also Singapore’s third largest trading partner in the EU. I am confident the partnership between the countries will grow from strength to strength.
Mr S.S. Teo

Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed during the week-long mission; one by SBF and two involving Singapore-based companies.

Promoting economic links

SBF signed an MoU with its Dutch counterpart, the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) and NLinBusiness, a Dutch public-private initiative focused on promoting trade and international business development amongst Dutch small- and medium-sized companies. Through this agreement, the parties aim to deepen business relations and develop stronger economic cooperation.

SBF hopes that the tie-up will help more Singapore companies establish their foothold in Europe, as well as support Dutch companies wishing to expand in Southeast Asia.

Sustainable farming

Singapore’s Barramundi Asia signed an agreement with Wageningen Livestock Research to develop an efficient and effective breeding programme for its farms in Singapore and Australia. As one of the largest companies in the world farming barramundi in the ocean, the company adopts leading-edge sustainable farming practices and aquaculture technologies by partnering world-class institutions of higher learning and research in these fields.

“The continual improvement to our breeding programme using technology and superior genetics through the natural selection methodology is key and our partnership with Wageningen Livestock Research will be another important step in this direction,” said Mr Andrew Kwan, Co-Chairman of Barramundi Asia.

Green shipping technologies

Zener Maritime Solutions signed an agreement with Stolt Tankers for a strategic partnership on green technologies for shipping. Jagdeep Singh Bhatia, Managing Director of Zener Maritime Solutions, said: “As a fast-growing ship inspection and engineering services company, we strive to keep ahead with the latest innovations and technology and through this partnership with Stolt Tankers, we hope to make a difference by helping the industry mitigate its environmental impact.”

A strategic European Hub

The Netherlands, the sixth-largest economy in the European Union and a key player in the European supply chain and transportation nexus, provides a strategic location for Singapore companies to serve markets within the European continent. It boasted a GDP of US$777.2 billion in 20162 and is projected to achieve economic growth of 2.8% in 20183, supported by its key industries of food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining and electrical machinery manufacturing.

To date, more than 60 Singapore companies have established a presence in the Netherlands including CWT Limited, Olam, Keppel Corporation, Franklin Offshore Group, Samwoh Corporation, SIA Cargo and Singapore Airlines.