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Economic Cooperation


Economic Cooperation

The bilateral trade and the Italian presence in Singapore are constantly growing as Singapore is the first Italian export destination in the region.

In 2019 the bilateral trade registered a slight decrease compared to 2018, from 2.5 to 2.38 billion euros, with a reduction in exports from 2.2 to 2 billion euros. From January to October 2020, due to the effect of Covid-19, trade amounted to 1.8 billion, of which 1.4 billion of exports and recording a positive balance of 1.01 billion euros in favor of Italy. 

Traditionally, our exports include machinery for industrial processing, transportation, electrical products, chemicals, oil products, processed metals and food products. The main imported products were: fuels, machinery and equipment for transport, manufactured products, chemical products, medicines and other pharmaceutical products. With regards to the services sector, Italy is Singapore's seventh trade partner in Europe, with bilateral trade in commercial services totalling about 1.6 billion Singpore Dollars. Regarding investments, Italy ranks the 14th among European investors, with more than 600 Italian companies registered in Singapore. Those companies operate mainly in services, electronics, chemical and other consumer goods sectors.  

The City-State, which boasts the most advanced economic system of ASEAN, constitutes an absolute strategic, commercial, financial and logistic 'hub'. Italian companies, especially those with a high technological content, can find partners interested in developing products or re-export to the rest of the region, as well as concrete support from government agencies dedicated to supporting investments in this field.
The most promising new sectors include pharmaceuticals and technologies applied to medicine, information technologies, aerospace sector, renewable energies, maritime and precision engineering along with those of furniture and design or related to all various items that describe the so-called Italian life style.

The Economic crisis due to Covid-19 pandemic has also hit considerably the Singaporean economy and a GDP drop of 6% is expected in 2020. To contain the economic impact the Government of Singapore allocated a stimulus package of more than 92 billion Singapore Dollars (about 60 billion euros). 

The digital transformation is considered fundamental to overcome the damage caused by the pandemic. The Government is particularly committed to support three projects: promoting the adoption of business-to-business digital technologies such as e-invoicing and e-signatures, help the companies to benefit from the digital economy agreements to operate cross-border and support the development of digital platforms.     

Economic Missions

President Tony Tan's State visit to Italy, from 22nd to 25th May 2016, was an opportunity to boost economic relations: President Tan was in fact accompanied by the Minister of Industry and Commerce Iswaran and a large entrepreneurial delegation, which has participated in numerous events in various Italian cities, with the aim of facilitating commercial relations in particular with Italian SMEs.

More recently, on 7 and 8 February 2018, the mission of the then Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Angelino Alfano was held in Singapore. During his visit to Singapore the Minister met his counterpart Balakrishnan, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Lim Hng Kiang, and the heads of the Sovereign Funds Temasek and GIC and the Singapore Economic Development Board. Minister Alfano, during the talks, reiterated Italy's attention to encouraging investment opportunities for foreign funds, also as a means of strengthening bilateral relations.

From May 14th to 16th 2019 the 12th edition of IMDEX “Asia Pacific's Premier International Maritime Defense Show took place, which is the most important event on global security calendar in the maritime sector of South East Asia. Important Italian companies (Leonardo, Fincantieri, Elettronica, DRASS, GEM and Ferretti D&S) supported by AIAD, were present at the event, which was attended by around 230 exhibitors from all over the world. A large Italian delegation led by Team Admiral Valter Girardelli, Chief of Staff of the Navy, and by Admiral Chief Inspector, Matteo Bisceglia, Director of Naval Armaments of the Navy took part in the event. Admiral Girardelli had the opportunity to hold numerous bilateral meetings with the counterparts of the other participating countries and, in particular, with the Chief of Singapore Navy.

On 25 and 26 March 2019 the mission of the Minister of Economy and Finance Giovanni Tria was held. The Minister, in addition to having a meeting with his Singaporean counterpart, he met with the leading representatives of MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) and the heads of Temasek and GIC sovereign funds. During the talks, the Minister presented the numerous investment opportunities in Italy, encouraging his interlocutors to also plan a visit to Italy to study the various opportunities in more depth.

On May 9, 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, went on a mission to Singapore, a visit preceded by a stop in Vietnam. Minister Moavero held meetings at the highest level: with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, and Ambassador Chio Kiat Ow. He took the opportunity to reiterate the excellent bilateral relations existing between the two countries and again illustrated the Italian potential in the field of investments.

On 19 December 2019, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, received in Rome his Singaporean counterpart, Vivian Balakrishnan, with whom he discussed matters of mutual interest on economic cooperation, promotion of investments and innovation, euroasian connectivity and Italy-ASEAN relationships.

The Economic and Commercial Office of the Embassy in Singapore coordinates economic promotion activities in the Republic of Singapore and assists Italian businesses operating there.

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