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’Singapore can be Iran’s anchor into Asia’

’Singapore can be Iran’s anchor into Asia’

10 December 2004

LONDON, Dec 10 (IranMania) - Singapore can be a springboard for oil-rich Iran to expand its business links in Asia, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said Thursday as the city-state emphasised its desire for closer bilateral trade ties, IRIB reported.

Trade between the two countries has doubled to 1.2 billion US dollars over the past 10 years but there are still many areas for the two countries to deepen their mutual economic interests, Lim said in a speech at an Iranian business seminar .

"Bilaterally, our trade ties are healthy. Nonetheless, there is potential to do more," Lim said.

"It is my hope that the Singapore-Iran relationship will grow closer in the coming years.

"Singapore will be a good resource for Iran to tap, not just for our infrastructural links but for our knowledge, expertise and insights of Asia."

The oil and gas sector is one area where the two countries can step up cooperation, Lim said.

Iran, a major oil producer, can leverage on the city-state’s position as the third-largest refining centre in the world to make further inroads into the region.

"In the oil and gas sector, Iran is a major producer and Singapore (is) a major processor," Lim said.

"The energy needs of Asia are growing and Singapore is an ideal forward base into East Asia."

Lim said Singapore also welcomed any Iranian interest to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the city-state, which has shortlisted five foreign firms to carry out a feasibility study to build its first LNG terminal.

The city-state can also offer its expertise in logistics, port services and industrial park planning to Iran, Lim said.

Singapore and Iran committed in July this year to explore a free trade agreement as part of wider framework to deepen bilateral economic ties.

The commitment followed a visit by then prime minister Goh Chok Tong to Iran.

Trade-dependent Singapore has signalled its intention to increase business ties with the Middle East, which has a combined gross domestic product valued at one trillion US dollars and growing pool of wealthy middle class consumers.