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Vietnam's growth offers Singapore firms new opportunities: Iswaran

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VIETNAM'S growth trajectory offers new opportunities for Singapore companies to tap into, said Singapore's Minister for Industry S Iswaran.

VIETNAM'S growth trajectory offers new opportunities for Singapore companies to tap into, said Singapore's Minister for Industry S Iswaran.

In particular, there is potential for companies from both sides to cooperate more in the manufacturing, consumer services and urban solutions sectors, said Mr Iswaran at the Singapore-Vietnam Business Forum on Monday afternoon.

The forum is held in conjunction with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang's state visit to Singapore. Mr Quang will be attending a state banquet held in his honour by Singapore President Tony Tan after the forum. He will return to Vietnam on Tuesday.

Noting Vietnam's "sound economic fundamentals" and "political stability", Mr Iswaran said: "The 2016 Singapore-Vietnam bilateral business forum takes place at a time when Vietnam has become one of the most attractive emerging economies in Asia ... Vietnam's economy has been performing well and forecast to be on a strong growth trajectory."

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Thus, companies from Singapore and Vietnam can look to deepen cooperation in more sectors, he said.

Firstly, with Vietnam emerging as a "choice manufacturing base" in Asia, Mr Iswaran urged companies to tap into the country's competitive advantage in this area.

Firms can also offer supporting services like automation and logistics services to multinational corporations which are establishing manufacturing operations there.

Secondly, with the maturing of Vietnam's consumer sector, Singapore's food service and lifestyle brands can look to tap into this market by providing more options and customised experiences.

Thirdly, Vietnam's urbanisation offers opportunities for Singapore firms to provide urban solutions.

"New opportunities will also arise as Vietnam moves up the value chain, and its industrialisation extends to higher-value add activities," said Mr Iswaran.

Bilateral trade between Singapore and Vietnam was S$21.6 billion in 2015, a 10.6 per cent increase from the previous year, figures provided by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore show.

This helped Singapore rise two places to be the sixth largest trading partner for Vietnam. Vietnam also rose two places to become Singapore's 11th largest trading partner.

As at April 2016, Singapore's investments in Vietnam totalled US$38.1 billion across 1,663 projects, said IE Singapore. This makes Singapore the third largest foreign investor there, and the largest investor from Asean.

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