Speech By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua,Minister Of State For Finance And Transport, At Landesbank Baden Wuerttemberg Evening Reception, 17 September 2006, 8.00 pm At German Centre17 Sep 2006
Chairman of Landesbank Baden Wuerttemberg, Dr Jaschinski,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Thank you for inviting me to this special reception. On behalf of Singapore, let me specially welcome those of you who have flown in to attend the 2006 IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings, and wish you a fruitful stay.
2. The Landesbank Baden Wuerttemberg holds a significant position as a German bank in the Singapore financial community. It is a key banking service provider for German companies venturing into Singapore and Asia. It is also the main financier for the German Centre of Industry and Trade in Singapore (GCIT). The German Centre in Singapore - established in 1995 - was, in fact, the pioneer of other similar German incubation centres around the world that LBBW has helped to set up.
3. I congratulate the LBBW, as it celebrates the 10th anniversary of its regional office here in Singapore. Over the past decade, it has been supporting German SMEs to do business within Asia, especially in Singapore. The branch has also been very active in financing Asian projects and Asian Corporates and is a prime name for Asian Central Banks as a reliable partner.
4. In many ways, the LBBW has also helped to promote overall bilateral ties and economic links between Germany and Singapore, by diversifying its operations to invest in the incubation centre here.
5. Germany is a key partner to Singapore. Among European countries, it is Singapore's largest trading partner and our second largest tourism market. To date, 1,070 German companies have established a presence in Singapore, in key industries such as banking, electronics and precision engineering, chemicals, transport and logistics, info-communications, and media. There are over 4,000 German expatriates in Singapore. Our Prime Minister visited Germany in November last year, we were happy to welcome the German Economics Minister Michael Glos to Singapore for the German-Singapore Expo in March 2006. I am confident that both LBBW and the German Centre will continue to successfully promote and facilitate this expansion of German presence and investment; both within Singapore, and beyond.
6. Southeast Asia, in particular, is a region ripe with opportunities. The 10 ASEAN countries, for example, have a combined volume of external trade totaling more than US$1 trillion, and a combined market of over 560 million people. This gives us the potential to be a third major growth center in Asia, after China and India. More importantly, the growing economic integration within ASEAN will enable us to both complement and ride on the spectacular growth of the two Asian giants.
7. Connected to Southeast Asia, China and India, Singapore provides global investors a gateway to the opportunities in Asia. We welcome foreign investors and businesses to come here, and to take advantage of the regional opportunities. We have strived to provide top standards of efficiency, transparency and security to facilitate the transition of foreign companies. But very often, it is institutions with a commitment to support their nationals abroad, which can make the difference. LBBW, and the work they have done through the German Centre, is a shining example of such commitment.
8. This evening's reception commemorates a decade of fruitful partnership between LBBW, its clients and Singapore. I wish LBBW every success, going forward. Thank you, and have a pleasant evening.