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North Rhine-Westphalia and Singapore conclude cooperation agreement on economic collaboration

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia and Singapore, the innovation center of the ASEAN region, are consolidating their growing economic partnership: a "Joint Workplan Agreement" to this effect is being signed by Tan Soon Kim, Deputy CEO of Singapore's economic development agency Enterprise Singapore, and Felix Neugart, CEO of the foreign trade promotion agency NRW.Global Business, at the NRW-ASEAN Summit in Gelsenkirchen in the presence of NRW Economics and Climate Protection Minister Mona Neubaur.

The initiative partners for the collaboration are the chambers of industry and commerce and the digital hubs in North Rhine-Westphalia, headed by the North Westphalia Chamber of Industry and Commerce as the focal chamber for Singapore and the digital hub münsterLAND. The first partner from the ranks of the regional economic development agencies is Business Metropole Ruhr, and others are welcome.

Singapore is considered one of North Rhine-Westphalia's most important economic partners in the ASEAN countries – not only as an important logistics hub in global world trade, but also as a high-tech innovation driver in the fields of digitalization, automation and IoT. The "Joint Workplan Agreement" aims to link North Rhine-Westphalia and Singapore more closely and to leverage the strengths of both locations for business and innovative research collaboration. Within the framework of joint projects, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as startups from both states are to be supported in their internationalization and R&D activities and benefit mutually from networks. The focus is on sectors such as advanced manufacturing, renewable energies and greentech, and ICT/digitalization.

Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia: "As an important growth region in the Asian region, the ASEAN states offer the North Rhine-Westphalian economy great opportunities for new sales and procurement markets. Singapore's dynamic corporate and research landscape provides North Rhine-Westphalia with a strong platform for cooperation and innovation. We want to unleash this potential through our agreement and use it to strengthen the joint activities of Singapore and North Rhine-Westphalia. It also contributes to the diversification of our economic relations."

Peter Ong, Chairman of Enterprise Singapore: "This agreement will enable us to better support Singaporean companies in exploring collaborations with North Rhine-Westphalia in the specified sectors. We hope that Singaporean and German companies can work together to develop new and innovative solutions to meet the needs in these sectors. Working with North Rhine-Westphalia will also enable German companies to collaborate with Singaporean companies beyond our respective markets in order to take advantage of opportunities in Southeast Asia and the European Union."

In the promotion of foreign trade, NRW.Global Business has been placing a new focus on the ASEAN region since the beginning of 2022. A diverse network comprising public authorities, institutions, associations and companies in the ASEAN countries has already been established within the framework of initial roundtable events, trade fair participations and company trips to the region.

Felix Neugart, CEO of NRW.Global Business: "We are proud that the activities of NRW.Global Business in the ASEAN region are already instigating close partnerships. The "Joint Workplan Agreement" with Enterprise Singapore is a first major milestone for our collaboration and helps us to develop joint strategies for economic exchange and international networking of SMEs and startups. Singapore as an innovation location is an ideal starting point for a powerful NRW-ASEAN connection and we plan to steadily advance our engagement in other ASEAN countries as well."