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Singapore investments in Latin America, the Caribbean still growing
SINGAPORE is seizing investment opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) beyond traditional sectors of commodities, oil and gas, and infrastructure.
Investors are looking at technology and education, which are emerging as niche and new sectors of potential for Singapore businesses.
Announcing this in a media statement on Friday, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore said the island republic's investments in LAC rose as the region's economy recovers from a slowdown.
Singapore's stock of direct investments grew at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 per cent over a five-year period, reflecting Singapore companies' continued interest in the region.
The Singapore-LAC trade in goods reached S$18.1 billion in 2016, even as weak commodity prices impact global trade.
Noting that Singapore-LAC economic relations have deepened, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said internationalisation continues to be a key driver for growth and encouraged Singapore companies to forge closer collaboration with their counterparts to gain access to more markets and new growth sectors.
He was speaking at the 12th edition of IE Singapore's Latin Asia Business Forum (LABF) held at the ParkRoyal on Beach Road on Friday.
A number of Singapore companies have expanded operations into the region this year. Surbana Jurong set up its first office in LAC in Mexico, while Ascott made its maiden foray into LAC with two franchises in Brazil.
Under the emerging niche of technology, leading provider of eGovernment products and services CrimsonLogic signed an agreement with the Government of Suriname at the forum on Friday to explore a Single Window System to facilitate customs clearance for trade.
CrimsonLogic has worked actively with the governments in Bolivia, Chile, Panama, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago over the years to help them go digital.
With the increase in government expenditure on education in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru over recent years, education consultancy firm Educare and educational content developer and publisher Star Publishing have entered the LAC market.
Group director for Emerging Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean at IE Singapore, G Jayakrishnan said: "In the current global economic environment, we expect LAC to look increasingly towards Asia to diversify investments and tap its growth. Singapore, as the only Asian country to become an Associate State in the Pacific Alliance, is well positioned to strengthen trade and investment between LAC and Asia."