Message From EU Ambassador

Ambassador / Head of the European Union Delegation to Singapore.

The EU Delegation to Singapore has been playing an important role in the City-State since it opened in 2004. For over 10 years, it has enhanced bilateral ties between the EU and Singapore and has also served to promote the EU relations with ASEAN. The EU is Singapore's largest trade partner. The EU is also the largest investor in Singapore -- accounting for close to 25% of FDI stock or over €100 billion. These statistics are truly impressive. In fact, in 2015 the EU launched new trade and investment strategy: "Trade for All", which aims to advance our engagement with Singapore and the region. These developments reaffirm that the EU has a huge stake in the success of ASEAN. Our compelling trade and economic relationship with Singapore and the region provides a solid foundation for pursuing closer collaboration on a range of issues.

Both the EU and Singapore have recognized the important contribution of SMEs to our respective economies. In the EU, SMEs represent 99% of all businesses, provide 80 million jobs or two-thirds of all private sector employment. However, only 600,000 out of our 20 million are exporting SMEs. There is therefore a lot of untapped potential. As a result, we have decided to focus our support on one area where SMEs still face difficulties: internationalization. This is why earlier this year the EU and Singapore have lunched the Enterprise Europe Network Singapore Centre to help EU and Singaporean SMEs find partners abroad. We also initiated a further complementary programme that I announced at this luncheon 2 years ago: The EU Business Avenues. We have finalized the pilot project and are now ready to launch the full programme. Over the next five years, we will bring 1000 European SMEs in 7 different sectors to Singapore and 5 Southeast Asian markets. The first business mission of the new programme will take place this July in conjunction with the Singapore International Water Week.

As ever, EuroCham is an indispensable partner for the EU Delegation to Singapore. The Chamber can look back on another strong year in 2015. With its active committees and advocacy groups, European business in Singapore continues to use EuroCham as a discussion platform to bring up and raise awareness on relevant issues.

I look forward to promoting greater exchanges and interaction between Singaporean and European companies and watching them grow together.