Singapore, Mar 9 (UNI) Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has told the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) to continue to adapt itself to a changing environment.
''Competition is intense, but there is no lack of opportunities.
Despite the problems in the US economy, China and India continue to surge ahead, with growing affluent middle-classes demanding global standards of living,'' he said at the launch of the SICCI new headquarters in Singapore yesterday.
''Singapore is well positioned to ride this wave because of our proximity, both in geography and culture, to the two Asian giants,'' Mr Lee added.
He also suggested areas where SICCI can offer a value proposition to the business community and Singapore, especially to strengthen ties with India. Mr Lee wants to see SICCI as an important agent in Singapore's growing relations with India.
''Through its members, the SICCI has maintained strong ties with its counterparts in India, and built up in-depth knowledge of the Indian market. The chamber can leverage on this to enhance business linkages between the two countries,'' he said.
He also noted that the SICCI provided useful inputs to improve the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) provisions, contributing to the successful conclusion of a gold-standard agreement with India.
''With the CECA, our bilateral trade with India has taken off.
Investments are also growing rapidly in both directions. More local companies are venturing to India, making Singapore one of the largest investors in India,'' he observed.
At the same time, Indian companies are increasingly using Singapore as a base to internationalise their business, because of the quality of infrastructure and the ease of access to Multinational Corporations and regional markets through Singapore.
Mr Lee pointed out that Singapore need to do more to communicate the CECA to the business communities in Singapore and India. The SICCI can help by establishing new contacts, and nurturing mutual appreciation and understanding.
''Your efforts can help Indian companies become more familiar with Singapore, and vice versa. Companies on both sides can then locate activities in their value chain according to the comparative advantages of the two countries, exploit their complementary strengths, and reap the full benefits of CECA,'' he said.
He told the SICCI can also make itself a centre for international networking on matters concerning India. The chamber can bring together public and private sector players, both within Singapore and abroad, to share insights and connections that might be useful for doing business in India, the premier stressed.
UNI XC BJR KP1226