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Singapore firms to partner German firms in manufacturing push

SINGAPORE'S manufacturing scene is about to get a boost, as new agreements were inked on Tuesday to enhance cross-country partnerships and co-innovation between German and Singapore companies.

This took place at the biennial Germany-Singapore Business Forum (GSBF) 2018 held at the Hannover Messe, the world's largest industrial tech trade fair in Germany, where a slew of memoranda of understandings (MOUs) were signed.

In his speech at the forum, Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said: "Like Germany, Singapore places great emphasis on innovation. Our complementary strengths make it meaningful for German and Singaporean enterprises to be innovation partners and build deeper technical capabilities."

To improve market access for startups from both countries and promote Singapore as an ideal regional launchpad for German startups, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) signed an MOU with the German Accelerator, which supports German high potential startups to enter South-east Asia through acceleration programmes.

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Both organisations will facilitate bilateral partnerships for innovation, knowledge exchange and the sharing of best practices.

Two new partnerships were also announced on Tuesday.

Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association (SPETA) will be partnering German industry association IVAM Fachverband Für Mikrotechnik (IVAM) to collaborate on the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies and microtechnology.

As a start, both parties will list their members in each other's member directory to enable companies to connect to potential partners.

The third MOU signing of the day was by Composite Cluster Singapore, Sakura Tech and German companies Covestro and Hufschmied to establish a Composite Application Centre (CAC) in Singapore as a regional centre of excellence.

The CAC will work closely with international leaders in composites research and provide a platform for companies to tap the latest technologies and create solutions. The four parties will drive innovation efforts and promote their products and services in overseas markets, especially Asia.

The MOU signings were witnessed by Mr Iswaran, who was guest of honour for the forum.

Advanced manufacturing, or Industry 4.0, combines machines with digital technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence to create what is known as a "smart factory". It is identified as a key driver of Singapore's future economic growth.

The business delegation is led by ESG and SPETA, in partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Close to 40 Singapore businesses are gathered in Hannover Messe, as part of government efforts to support Singapore firms in their advanced manufacturing push.

Germany is Singapore's largest trading partner in the European Union. Conversely, Singapore is Germany's largest trading partner in Asean. Close to 1,700 German companies are based in Singapore.