SINGAPORE : President Tony Tan Keng Yam has said there is great potential in Singapore’s relationship with Azerbaijan, whether in the political, economic or other spheres.
Speaking at a state lunch in honour of visiting Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday, President Tan noted the growing trade and investment ties between the two countries.
Between 2000 and 2012, bilateral trade more than doubled to reach over S$200 million.
In addition, there have been a few notable successes.
For instance, Keppel Offshore and Marine had signed a joint venture agreement with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and the Azerbaijan Investment Corporation to develop and manage a new 52—hectare shipbuilding and ship repair yard in Baku.
Keppel Offshore and Marine, in partnership with SOCAR, also established the Caspian Shipyard Company in 1997.
This was the first international rig construction, repair and conversion yard in the Caspian Sea region.
A number of other Singapore companies, such as Surbana Corporation, Sembcorp and the Franklin Offshore Group, have also participated in various projects in Azerbaijan.
President Tan believes that such endeavours are a positive symbol of the two countries’ mutually—beneficial partnership.
Dr Tan also said that since Singapore and Azerbaijan established diplomatic relations 18 years ago, bilateral ties have grown significantly.
He said Azerbaijan’s economy has been growing rapidly. Last year, it grew at 7.6 per cent, making Azerbaijan one of the fastest growing economies in the world today.
Dr Tan said Singapore companies looking at opportunities outside the region will find Azerbaijan an attractive place to do business.
He added that Azerbaijan is a country with a rich history and culture, made up of different traditions, and there is much that Singapore can learn from Azerbaijan’s diversity and cultural heritage.
He said that like Azerbaijan, Singapore values its cultural diversity and celebrates various religious and ethnic festivals throughout the year. He looks forward to opportunities for both countries to cooperate in the field of culture and the arts.
Mr Aliyev is in Singapore on a two—day visit at the invitation of President Tan. He is accompanied by Azerbaijan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov and senior government officials. He also met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana.
During his stay in Singapore, President Aliyev also visited the National Orchid Garden, where an orchid hybrid was named in his honour.
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