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28 February 2024

Singapore eyes UAE partner for Asia deals

By VM Sathish



Singapore is seeking partners in the UAE to develop joint ventures in Asia – particularly China and Vietnam.

Links have already been established between the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), owned by the emirate’s government, and Singapore’s government-controlled General Investment Corporation (GIC).

The two sides are drawing up new rules for the operation of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), a senior diplomat has revealed. And Singapore cabinet minister Goh Chok Tong last week completed a three-day visit to Dubai with a business delegation. The aim of the trip was to encourage UAE companies to invest in Asia through joint projects.

Dileep Nair, Singapore’s Consul-General in Dubai, told Emirates Business that the ADIA and the GIC had much in common. The Abu Dhabi fund has assets worth an estimated $800 billion (Dh2,900bn) while the Singapore fund manages assets worth more than $300bn. Both have also injected cash into beleaguered Western financial institutions – Citigroup and Merrill Lynch respectively – hit by writedowns from the US subprime home loans crisis.

“The GIC and the ADIA are talking – we have been working closely with each other,” Nair said. “The funds are creating new guidelines for improving transparency in the functioning of SWFs.”

In recent months, European governments and institutions have called for universal rules to be put in place to regulate SWF activities.

“Singapore is close to China. We have 18 joint committees with various Chinese provinces and are discussing bringing in foreign companies. The Sozhou industrial park in China, which was built by Singapore, is a showcase for other foreign investors,” Nair explained.

“Together with UAE companies we can go and invest in China, Vietnam and other countries in the proposed Asian common market.
Similarly, Asian companies can enter the GCC common market through the UAE. Singapore, which has a high savings rate, is a wealth management centre through which rich Asian investors explore other markets. Similarly the UAE is a rich country whose investors can reach Asian markets through Singapore.”

Nair said a business forum had been formed by Abu Dhabi and Singapore to set up joint projects – and the Mubadala Development Company, another investment vehicle owned by the emirate’s government, was an active participant.