In Late June, Singapore hosted the EU Business Avenues 2015 trade mission. The event was held at held the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, where more than 250 meetings between European and Southeast Asian firms took place.

The delegate brought 41 small and medium clean tech European enterprises to meet Southeast Asian firms in order to assess business opportunities and strengthen their trade ties.

The European companies had various different specializations and areas of expertise including energy efficiency, pollution control, waste and water technology sectors. The participants from the European side were carefully selected and coached prior to their participation.

One such firm was Malta-based AquaBioTech Group, which specialises in aquaculture technology. They hatch fish and grow them in tanks fitted with water re-circulation systems. This company notably has very strong market potential in the Southeast Asian region, which is one of the largest consumers of seafood in the world.

Another visiting business was the German company Tholander Ablufttechnik, which focuses on waste water treatment, air pollution control and bio-gas production. They already are present in Singapore and are seeking to expand their business further.

Some of the participants from Singapore were the National Environment Agency, the National Water Agency, the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore, and the Singapore Business Federation, among others.

According to Ellen Pedersen, programme manager for business cooperation and trade partnership instrument, European Commission, 63% of these meetings were successful and will lead to a business deal. The EU Business Avenues programme will be following the progress and outcomes of these meetings carefully.

These meetings were mainly targeted at partnerships for distribution agreements, joint ventures to adapt European technologies for Asia, and Asian companies paying European companies royalties to use their technologies.

Singapore, being already a mature market in these technologies, is a strategic place to conduct such an event. Raffaele Quarto, head of the EU Delegation to Singapore’s economic and trade section, said that the notion of sustainable development is growing in importance and interest for numerous Southeast Asian countries.

In addition, Singapore, as a regional hub in ASEAN, has strong relationships with other countries nearby which makes it important for these European businesses to start partnerships in the city-state.

Furthermore, as Tholander’s managing director Thomas Pliefgensdoerfer mentioned, this kind of platform is crucial in making new contacts and strengthening existing ties between both regions.

“There is high demand for solid waste and waste water treatment in regional countries such as Vietnam,” he said. “We hope to do business not only in Singapore, but also work with companies here to venture in to the region.”

EU Business Avenues’ goals are to bring in firms from other industries over the next 5 years as well. In the region, the healthcare and medical devices sectors especially has huge potential. Consumer products could also be a promising lead as incomes in the region are rising and populations expanding.

The Business Avenues’ programme is not only a platform for trade, but also a sign of friendlier ties between the EU and Southeast Asia.

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