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Singapore, Entrance to the Southeast Asian Market

Casa Asia Headquarters has hosted this working breakfast this morning, organised by Casa Asia, Catalonian Government (Generalitat) and Caixabank, whose purpose has been to analyse the city-state of Singapore as a business hub in Southeast Asia.

At this breakfast, which is within the “Week of Internationalisation” of ACCIO, Antoni Maria Grau, Director General of Industry of the Catalonian Goverment (Generalitat), Jordi Maluquer, Director of the ACCIÓ Office in Singapur, Esteban López Ricaurte, Director of Caixabank Representation Offices, Fran Carretero, Export Manager of Circutor and Amadeo Jensana, Economic and Business Director of Casa Asia, have taken part.

Amadeo Jensana, Economic and Business Director of Casa Asia, has welcomed attendants and highlighted the importance of Southeast Asia for being a compact region in an integrating process, which is highly interesting for Catalan companies.

Antoni Maria Grau, Director General of Industry of the Catalonian Goverment (Generalitat), pointed out the importance of Catalan companies' internationalisation. This is proved with a Catalan presence of 5.400 companies in Singapore and has highlighted the advantage investing in this market involves, especially regarding tariffs and fiscality but also for its great security and for being “business friendly”.

The Director General of Industry stated that in a period of recession the Catalan economy has beaten records in exportation figures; specifically, "the volume of exportations in Southeast Asia has reached growth levels above other areas of the world, reaching over 5.300 million Euros”, he insisted.

Next, the Director of ACCIÓ Office in Singapore, Jordi Maluquer, stood out the potential of Singapore as a business centre of the area but also for being a city-state with a great international and industrial strategic power. Maluquer has said that "despite only having 5 million inhabitants, it has a higher GDP that the Philippines, almost the same as Malaysia and slightly lower than Thailand's”. The activity sectors of Singapore are mainly the following: electronics, biomedics, engineering and transport, precision engineering and petrol refining.

Among the advantages Singapore offers to do business, Maluquer also highlighted the low tax level because “when a company is new, the first years it is not forced to pay taxes and it is foreign income tax exempt”. Regarding labor flexibility, in Singapore there is no minimum wage or severance payment, but on the other hand, there aren't people without jobs. “Unemployment does not exist”.

Maluquer has guaranteed that Singapore has the best paid public administration in the world and it holds the fourth position among the countries with highest transparency, as well as having a low corruption rate. In 2009 the government created the Resilience Package 2009 as a response of the government to the international crisis. Among the purposes of this programme, we can find the stimulation of bank credits (5.800 milion SGD), support to families, infrastructure improvement, reinforcement to competitiveness and business cash flow. The Director of ACCIO Office also stated that the infrastructure and transfer level of the Singapore port is excellent.

On the other hand, the Director of Caixabank Representation Offices, Esteban López Ricaurte, has insisted on the fact that Singapore is the entrance to the ASEAN market, an area addressed to free trade among the countries that make it up in a close future in ASEAN +6 (India, South Korea, Japan, China, New Zealand and Australia), which would be the greatest free trade zone of the world.

Ricaurte described the administration of Singapore as transparent and flexible, which means that "if you product is good and your company takes it seriously, it's a market that is worth it and has potential”. From our office “we help companies, especially those focused on infrastructures for motorways or hospitals, but alos in other sectors such as renewable energies, machinery or water treatment”.

Finally, Fran Carretero, Export Manager of Circutor, has explained the specific case of the company Circutor that is dedicated to the creation of systems, solutions and equipment for the control and management of energy and electric mobility. As well as analysed advantages, he has stated that Singapore offers political stability, intellectual property protection, transparent business, prepared human resources and well considered within the environment of Southeast Asia, neutral country without natural resources, pro-business environment, with monetary stability and independent courts.

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