Vol. 4 Num 94 Fri. August 29, 2003  

Strategic link between S'pore,Thailand gets stronger

Cars loaded with high-tech components made in Singapore could soon be rolling off Thailand's bustling assembly lines, thanks to accords signed here yesterday by the countries' government and business leaders.

The landmark accords seven in all are the first steps towards realising the vision of "one economy, two countries", which was first mooted by the Prime Ministers of both countries in February 2002.

They were inked at yesterday's close of a three-day inaugural meeting of the Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Economic Relationship (Steer).

Thailand, long recognised as the "Detroit of the East", has a booming car-making industry, while Singapore companies such as Sunningdale Precision Industries are global leaders in the manufacturing of precision plastic components used in cars.

But the trade accords go far beyond the vehicle industry. They will also facilitate bilateral trade in heat-processed pork and pork products, and enhance collaboration in the spa and tourism industries, and between both countries' stock exchanges, said Singapore Trade and Industry Minister George Yeo.

The memorandums of understanding (MOUs) will also promote bilateral investment co-operation and help foster closer linkages between the countries' small- and medium-sized enterprises, he added.

Indeed, trips by Singaporean businessmen to Thailand have already resulted in over $30 million of potential sales being drummed up, Dr Ng Boon Hoo, chairman of the Steer joint study group on automotive electronics parts and components, said earlier this week.