Qatar-Singapore FTA to be formalised soon
Doha • The Qatar-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first that Singapore will have with a GCC country is expected to be formalised soon, according Lim Boon Heng, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office of the Republic of Singapore.
"The Qatar-Singapore FTA is a comprehensive agreement that covers areas including trade in goods and services, e-commerce, investment, government procurement, customs and media cooperation. It will spur greater trade and investment linkages, as well as foster an even closer relationship between the two countries", he said.
Minister Lim was speaking at the inauguration of a new Offshore Jack Up Drilling Rig for Qatar’s drilling company, the Gulf Drilling International (GDI) in Singapore last week.
He noted that Qatar’s trade with Singapore has risen 14 per cent to 4 billion Singapore Dollars in 2005 as compared to S$ 3.6bn in 2004.
"We expect this to further grow in the years ahead as ties between Qatar and Singapore continue to deepen", he said.
He said that the recently formed Qatar-Singapore Joint Committee which will be meeting every year will be responsible for identifying areas for cooperation between the two governments as well as help support the private sector.
"In response to the huge potential for business opportunities, as well as growing interest from Singapore companies to do business in Qatar, we are also in the process of establishing a diplomatic mission. The mission will help to advance the projects identified by both countries, as well as offer assistance to the growing group of Singaporeans in Qatar", he said.
Lim added that Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister, Wong Kan Seng, led a delegation last month to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for security cooperation between the Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Qatar’s Interior Affairs Ministry.
As a result, he said, Singapore’s Civil Defence Force is now helping Qatar to build up a civil defense academy, and co-operating in the areas of police training and border control.
Singapore companies have similarly made headway with significant contracts in Qatar which include Keppel Integrated Engineering’s 1.7 bn Singapore Dollars contract to design, build and operate a solid-waste management facility, he added.