ENGAGEMENT OF THE REGION
Singapore engages the Middle East in diverse areas ranging from high-level exchanges, to economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. Our government agencies share best practices with their Middle East counterparts in many areas, including healthcare, governance, culture and the environment.
Economic Links and Cooperation
Our intensified political exchanges have helped to promote Singapore's economic ties with the Middle East. Singapore companies, have for many years been active in a broad spectrum of sectors, including infrastructure, oil and gas, environmental technologies, logistics, tourism and retail. Trade between Singapore and the Middle East has also grown substantially in recent years, reaching S$52.8 billion in 2017.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA), which was signed on 15 December 2008 and entered into force on 1 September 2013, was an important milestone as Singapore is the first country outside of the Middle East to conclude an FTA with the GCC.
Elsewhere in the region, in recognition of Israel's strength in the high-tech sector, the Singapore Israel Industrial Research & Development Foundation has been facilitating and supporting joint industrial R&D projects between companies from both countries.
Singapore shares our developmental experience with Middle East countries through the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP) and the work of Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE). Various ministries, statutory boards and private organisations also cooperate with their Middle East counterparts on a wide range of issues. These initiatives include but are not limited to:
Academic Engagement and Cooperation
Singapore's schools and tertiary institutions actively engage the Middle East, with an increasing variety of programmes and opportunities available for students to gain a better appreciation and understanding of the region. Examples include but are not limited to:
Asia-Middle East Dialogue (AMED) - Singapore mooted the idea of establishing an Asia-Middle East Dialogue (AMED) in 2004 as part of our efforts to foster political, economic and cultural engagement between Asia and the Middle East. Singapore hosted the inaugural AMED Ministerial Meeting in 2005, which was attended by leaders from Asia and Middle East. Since then, AMED has produced a number of initiatives including the Regional Training Centres in Jordan and Qatar, which has trained over 600 officials from 44 AMED member countries and Africa.