S'pore heading for 'slower but better growth'

S'pore heading for 'slower but better growth'

SINGAPORE - Singapore is entering a new phase where, as its economy matures, it expects "slower but qualitatively better growth", said Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang on Monday.

Addressing French businessmen in Paris, he said Singapore continues to welcome talent and investments, while being mindful of its physical and social constraints.

"We will maintain a pro-business environment which helps companies succeed in Singapore," he added.

"We may not be the cheapest place to do business, but we stand firmly on a solid foundation built on efficiency, predictability and high standards of excellence."

The minister was speaking at a seminar on linking Asia and Europe through trade and investment, organised by the French Agency for International Business Development (UbiFrance) and the Singapore Business Federation.

Mr Lim, who is part of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's delegation to France, noted that Singapore has the most extensive network of free trade agreements (FTAs) in Asia, and will continue to expand this network.

The FTAs provide companies with greater market connectivity, one example being the landmark European Union-Singapore FTA, he noted.

Its legal text was recently initialled by both sides and now awaits ratification.

The FTA will give consumers more choices and, notably, "bring France even closer to the hearts of the average Singaporean", said Mr Lim.

Currently, agri-food products and consumer goods make up more than a quarter of French exports to Singapore.

"This is no surprise since France is well-known for its gourmet food, and eating happens to be one of Singaporeans' favourite pastimes," he said.

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