SINGAPORE (AFP) – Saudi Arabia has expressed support for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Singapore and the Gulf Cooperation Council, an official joint statement said.
The council is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Saudi Arabia welcomed and expressed its support for an FTA between Singapore and the Gulf Cooperation Council,” said the statement on the ongoing official visit of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz to the city-state.
It said the two countries “affirmed the benefits of global free trade and regional trade agreements” and that Singapore congratulated Saudi Arabia on its accession to the World Trade Organisation.
The Saudi crown prince is on an official visit to Singapore from April 10-15. He had earlier visited Japan.
Singapore has embarked on a strategy to broaden its trade, business and diplomatic ties with the Middle East, which it sees as a growth region.
Last month, Singapore announced it has formed a group of specialist contractors to jointly bid for infrastructure projects in the Gulf.
The consortium, which includes leading specialist contractors with global experience, will pursue projects in the retail and commercial, hospitality, residential, educational and infrastructural sectors.
The consortium will complement another group of companies, the Singapore Building and Infrastructure Consortium, which was formed in May last year to also pursue projects in the Middle East.
Trade-reliant Singapore is a leader in forging FTAs with its trading partners, having signed such pacts with the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Jordan, among others.