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SINGAPORE entered into a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) on Monday with Iran, a sign of renewed interest from the business community and the commitment by both governments to grow bilateral trade and investment.
The BIT, also known as reciprocal promotion and protection of investments, was signed by Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, and Iran's Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, Ali Tayyebnia in Tehran.
The agreement is intended to extend protection to investors' interests from both countries while opening up more business and investment opportunities.
Mr Iswaran is accompanied by a 57-member delegation comprising representation from 48 companies and headed by the Singapore Business Federation.
Mr Iswaran said at the signing ceremony: "As part of their internationalisation strategy, Singapore companies must venture beyond traditional markets to seize opportunities in new and emerging economies like Iran.
"With the lifting of the sanctions (against Iran), the Singapore business community has expressed strong interest and renewed optimism in this untapped market."
He described the SBF delegation to Iran as the largest so far sent to the Middle East. The diverse composition of the delegation - with representatives from the oil and gas, petrochemicals, logistics, info-communications technology and professional services industries - is evidence of the strong interest in Iran.
Iran was Singapore's 11th largest trading partner out of 18 countries in the Middle East in 2015. Bilateral trade with Iran amounted to S$171.4 million in 2015, with Singapore's exports totalling S$158 million while imports from Iran stood at S$13.4 million.
Before the sanctions, Singapore's bilateral trade with Iran amounted to S$6.6 billion in 2011.