Emerging economies will remain main contributor to global growth: Tharman
- POSTED: 24 Sep 2013 15:08
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Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the emerging market economies will remain the main contributor to global economic growth over the next five to 10 years. This is despite recent volatility in the financial markets and challenges.
SINGAPORE: Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the emerging market economies will remain the main contributor to global economic growth over the next five to 10 years despite recent volatility in the financial markets and challenges.
Mr Tharman was speaking at the 8th Russia-Singapore Business Forum held in Singapore on Tuesday.
Many emerging economies have seen volatility in the financial markets recently on concerns that capital outflows will accelerate when the US starts to unwind its stimulus programme.
However, Mr Tharman said these economies will continue to drive the global economy over the next five to 10 years.
Mr Tharman said: "There are also significant opportunities arising from the rise of the middle class in the emerging world. Russia's market of more than 140 million people, together with the growing Eurasian market, is increasingly an opportunity. It is an increasingly affluent market and it offers business potential in areas like urban solutions and lifestyle products."
Mr Tharman also noted the significant progress in economic ties between Singapore and Russia.
Bilateral trade has more than tripled since 2007 and the Singapore Business Federation said the growth in trade has been seen in oil, metals and electronics products as well as vehicles and ships.
And the number of Russian companies in Singapore has jumped four-fold to over 400 in the past five years.
Looking ahead, there are more opportunities for collaboration. One example is the partnership between Russian sports retailer Sportmaster and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore to set up an innovation centre to develop innovative sportswear and equipment.
With a starting budget of S$5 million over the next three years, the centre aims to pioneer breakthrough sports technology for Sportmaster.
The new centre will be housed under the Institute of Sports Research at NTU. It will focus on developing innovative sportswear and equipment for sale in Sportmaster's retail chain. Sportmaster has 368 outlets in over 80 cities worldwide.
Mr Tharman added that Russia-Singapore ties have become "much broader and deeper in scope".
He said: "Singapore companies are now active in a wider array of business sectors in Russia, including a whole range of activities to do with urban development such as master planning, township development, transport and infrastructure, as well as agribusiness, IT and education.
"We are also engaging Russia at the regional level, very importantly. Many of these projects and investments go beyond the federal cities of Moscow and St Petersburg, and are located in some of Russia's fast-growing and dynamic regions, such as Pskov, Krasnodar, Tatarstan and Tomsk, and also in the Russian Far East such as Primorsky."
People-to-people ties have also improved. Mr Tharman said more Singaporeans are heading to Russia for work and leisure, and likewise Singapore saw a record number of Russian visitors last year, at around 70,000 of them, up from just 12,000 visitors 10 years ago.
Mr Tharman said other new areas for potential collaboration include the arts, culture and tourism.
He added that there are plans to open a Russian Cultural Centre in Singapore, which would add new dimension to relations between the two countries.