The Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) has opened its first trade office in India in an attempt to boost trade ties between the two countries as the pace of business between them quickens.
Singapore has emerged among India's top four investors, after the two countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in mid-2005 with bilateral trade between India and Singapore surging to $16.6 billion in 2007. The agreement has strengthened economic relations and generated business opportunities between the two countries.
Indian investments in Singapore are also growing at a rapid pace. The two countries have set an ambitious target of doubling annual bilateral trade to $50 billion by 2012. SICCI's New Delhi office will serve as a platform for Indian firms wanting to do business in the Southeast Asian region.
SICCI chairman Vijay Iyengar said the SICCI office in New Delhi will function as a "hand-holding" facility for Singapore firms, helping them to get to know the Indian market and act as a facilitator, helping to keep members abreast with changes in regulations.
He also added, the new facility would also serve as a platform for Indian companies looking to do business in Singapore and the region.
According to Iyengar business between Indian and Singapore firms have taken a quantum leap, with a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises from Singapore looking for business relations with India.
The chamber would lend them a helping hand, and help guide them through the maze of regulations and keep them informed about developments in different sectors of the Indian economy, he said.
SICCI was set up as the Indian Merchants Association in 1924 with over 700 members in Singapore and it acts as a connecting forum for Singaporean companies seeking business opportunities in India.
There are approximately 3,000 Indian firms in Singapore today with many using Singapore's associations with China, Japan, Malaysia and other countries to expand their business globally.
The India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA ) scheduled next year will expand the scope of the agreement and focus on strengthening certain areas such as intellectual property rights, tourism and help Indian to use Singapore as a base for expanding trade in the Asia-Pacific region.