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UAE Embassy and Diplomatic Council

by Irene Ho

24 October 2018

TLN member and partner Diplomatic Council (DC), a global think tank, a world leading business network and a charitable foundation in consultative status with the United Nations recently through their Mission in Singapore led by Ms Irene Ho who is also CEO of TLN Singapore collaborated with the UAE Embassy in Singapore to present an exclusive event “Brunch with UAE Ambassador" for HNWI Investors in Singapore.

The UAE Embassy led by H.E. Dr Mohamed Omar Abdulla Balfaqeeh, UAE Ambassador to Singapore (left) who is also a founding Ambassador Member of the DC Mission in Singapore conducted a presentation at the exclusive event to HNWI Investors, which include HNWI clients of TLN Singapore’s Members, about Investment opportunities in UAE Market as well as the facilities provided by UAE.

H.E. Dr Mohamed Omar Abdulla Balfaqeeh and his team at the UAE Embassy look forward to more future collaboration with TLN Singapore and DC Mission Singapore.

Looking ahead
According to the World Competitiveness Ranking 2018, the UAE ranks first regionally and seventh internationally, ahead of countries including Sweden, Norway, and Canada. The UAE Government considers it to be imperative to move towards a knowledge-based economy. In order to do so, the UAE Government consistently encourages innovation, has strengthened regulatory frameworks, and promotes investment in high-value-added sectors. As part of the UAE’s Vision 2021, it is hoped that the UAE will become the most significant regional country in terms of its economic, touristic, and commercial capacity.  The UAE is characterized by a stable investment, economic and political environment, which has been capable of sustaining economic growth despite recent fluctuations in the global economy. This has been due to several reasons, not limited to:  the UAE’s strategic location, strong financial reserves, sovereign wealth funds, promising economic environment, continued government spending, free zones, and foreign direct investment.

Partnering with Singapore
Singapore is the largest trading partner of the UAE in ASEAN. Conversely, UAE is the largest trading partner of Singapore in the GCC. Bilateral trade in 2017 amounted to US$ 17 billion. Investment flows between the two countries have also been significant.

Some of the leading UAE companies are present in Singapore. They capitalize on the country’s role as a regional business hub for the SouthEast Asian and Asia Pacific Regions. Furthermore, Singapore’s status as a AAA rated country give it an excellent reputation for strong governance, economic management, first class infrastructure, advance financial sector and globalized communication channels. The political stability and strong oversight by regulatory authorities, coupled with various incentives offered by the government for regional hub status are strong pull factors for UAE companies to establish a base in Singapore. Some of the major UAE companies present in the country include Global Foundries, ADNOC, ENOC, Borouge, Al-Futtaim, DNATA, Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, Sharaf Group, CEPSA, GEMS, Horizon Terminals and RAK Ceramics.

Singapore’s reputation as a leading international financial center has also attracted UAE financial institutions to establish a regional branch in the country, covering the Asia Pacific region. First Abu Dhabi Bank and Emirates NBD have wholesale branch licenses actively involved in financing UAE and regional corporates and trade and investment flows between UAE and the region. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has also established a regional representative office in Singapore.

Some of Singapore’s major companies have also invested and established operations in the UAE. They leverage the UAE’s diversified economic composition, strong and business-friendly government and the country’s strategic positioning as the regional hub covering GCC, MENA, East Africa and Central Asia. Some of the Singapore companies in the UAE include Capitaland, Ascott, Sembawang Group, ST Group, Surbana Jurong, DP Architects, RSP Architects, Indoguna, Meinhart, Boustead Projects, and GIS Schools. A large number of trading companies from Singapore have established regional trading operations in Jebel-Ali Free Zone, DAFZA and other free zones in UAE. Financial institutions such as Bank of Singapore and DBS Bank are active in DIFC. Bank of Singapore has recently expanded their operations significantly, focusing on the lucrative market for wealth management.

UAE-SINGAPORE Business Council
The establishment of the UAESBC was first mooted at a seminar to commemorate the launch and signing of the GCC-Singapore FTA. This proposal received further support from government and national business organisations from both countries.

Hence, UAESBC was established in early 2018 . Its primary aim is to provide a platform for member companies and individuals to connect amongst themselves, with the UAE embassy, relevant business bodies both in UAE and Singapore, that will also serve to catalyze greater trade and investment flows between the two countries. It is also the intention to capitalize on the important role that the UAE and Singapore can play as regional nodes in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with reference to the Maritime Road. Singapore is an established hub for ASEAN and Asia Pacific Region, with strong links to the Indian sub-continent. Whilst on the other hand, the UAE is the established hub for the Middle East, East Africa and Central Asia. Hence there are certainly opportunities for these two pivotal nodes to collaborate in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Patron of the UAESBC are, the UAE Ambassador, His Excellency, Dr Muhamed Omar and Mr Lee Yi Shyan, a Member of Parliament and former Senior Minister of State. The Executive Committee include leading UAE and Singapore companies such as Global Foundries, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Dnata, Borouge, Al-Futtaime Group, ADNOC, ENOC, Emirates NBD and ST Group, Surbana Jurong, DP Architects, Meinhart and others.

The council has a programme to organise various activities such as regular breakfast talks, trade missions, workshops, seminars, networking sessions with other chambers and trade associations. It has three categories of membership viz, Corporate sponsor, ordinary corporate and individual members.

Irene Ho is the Diplomatic Council Head of Mission in Singapore




February/March 2020








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