Blossoming Ties Between Singapore and the Middle East

On a global scale, development in advanced economies was generally weaker in 2013 than expected, with the US yet to solve its fiscal impasse and the weak domestic demand in Europe. While recovery in advanced economies in Asia is likely to lift export demand, structural reforms in China and fiscal consolidation in some ASEAN economies are likely to moderate growth. In view of this, the Singapore economy is expected to show slow recovery of 3.5 to 4 per cent in 2013, with gradual growth of 2 to 4 per cent expected in 2014.

Diplomatic relationships between Singapore and the Middle East continue to flourish with high level diplomatic visits taking place in all areas. Diplomatic presence in both Singapore and the Middle East is increasing. Currently, Singapore has embassies in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Riyadh, Doha as well as Consulate-General in Dubai, Jeddah and Muscat. Singapore also has accredited Non-Resident Ambassadors to Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Yemen. The country’s Ambassadors to Saudi Arabia and Egypt are concurrently accredited to Bahrain and Libya respectively. Meanwhile, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar and Israel have resident embassies in Singapore, while Oman has a Consulate-General in Singapore.

The year 2013 saw further strengthening of Singapore-Middle East relations with visits by the Chairman of Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) Fahad Al Attiyah under the MEEPP in March 2013; Oman Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers Sheikh Alfadhel Mohamed Al Harthy in April 2013; Saudi Arabia Minister of Transport Dr Jubara Al Suraisry to attend the Singapore Maritime Week in April 2013; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (Asia, Oceania & CIS) Dr Seyed Abbas Araghchi for the inaugural Iran-Singapore Bilateral Consultations; and Saudi Arabia Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) Prince Turki Al Faisal to attend the Middle East Institute Conference on "Converging Regions: Global Perspectives on Asia and the Middle East" in May 2013, among others.

In January 2013, Singapore Minister for Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan made a trip to UAE to attend the 3rd International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) General Assembly, World Future Energy Summit, and the International Water Summit. Singapore Minister for Communications and Information and Minister in charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim visited Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in February this year; while Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Lee Yi Shyan attended the Jeddah Economic Forum in March 2013. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam visited Oman to officiate the opening of the Wilayat Mirbat Independent Water and Power Plant in May. He also made an introductory visit to UAE in May.

On 1 September 2013, the Gulf Cooperation Council - Singapore Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA) entered into force. This Agreement will further enhance Singapore’s flourishing economic and trade relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Singapore is the first non-Middle East country to have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the GCC. This is already Singapore’s second FTA with the Middle East – the first one being the Singapore-Jordan FTA in 2004.

Singapore remains one of the favoured tourism destinations for visitors from the Middle East. Visitor arrivals in Singapore from the Middle East showed a total of 68,468 visitors, from January to June 2013. In 2013, Singapore and Singapore’s Changi International Airport were voted as the number one Halal-friendly holiday destination and shopping destination respectively by Crescentrating, a company specialising in halal-friendly travel. Furthermore, in Crescentrating’s Top Halal-Friendly Airports for 2013, Singapore ranked second.

Global Yellow Pages Limited (GYP) continues to play an active role in the growth and development of Singapore business wanting to enter the Middle East. A leading publisher of consumer, business and trade directories, GYP takes pride in promoting Singapore-based businesses via its Singapore Information Services Pte Ltd (INSIS) trade directories.

Middle East Connections is one such INSIS directory aligned with the Singapore government’s vision of enhancing trade growth between Singapore and the world. We are pleased to present the 2014 edition for local and foreign corporations and entrepreneurs.

In this edition, you will find comprehensive listings of Singapore-based companies looking to expand their footprint in the Middle Eastern markets. This edition also contains vital contact information for embassies, foreign trade promotion agencies and foreign business associations based in Singapore.

Notably, Singapore continues to take the top spot in The World Bank’s Doing Business 2014 report. A high ranking on the ease of doing business index denotes that the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm. The country also ranked as the second most competitive economy in the world on The Global Competitiveness Index 2013–2014 rankings, scoring high in the areas of economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

Our website,, has been up and functional since its launch in 2012, connecting Singapore businesses to the rest of the world online, 24/7. You can find a sample e-book on our website too.

The Middle East Connections 2014 Directory is an extension of our ethos and we trust it will create greater opportunities for those who use it.

Freddie Tan
Publishing Director
Global Yellow Pages Limited