Singapore exporters turn attention to India’s vast market potential

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Singapore exporters turn attention to India’s vast market potential

Related tags International trade Singapore

Trade between Singapore and India has come under the spotlight after two manufacturing industry groups signed an agreement with Indian food importers to make it easier to export to the South Asian country.

The Singapore Manufacturing Federation, Singapore Food Manufacturers Association and Forum of Indian Food Importers signed a memorandum of understanding that is expected to overcome Indian regulatory hurdles.

India has stringent rules on the import of food and beverage products, though these have been increasingly relaxed in a bid to attract more importers, said SFMA's deputy vice-president Jimmy Soh.

"In India, there are different ways on how a product is sold at different prices. It is complex for Singaporean food brands to bring in their products there. Also, there is a lack of understanding of what Singaporean food is in India​.

"The agency set up by the Indian government protects their consumers but in recent years, they have relaxed the regulations to suit international food companies​," Soh added. 

Meanwhile, the Indian signatory will organise workshops to help Singaporean exporters understand Indian consumers better and learn more effective ways to market their products.

Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran said: "The MOU aims to help Singapore companies overcome regulatory hurdles when entering the Indian market and for the private sector to deepen their networks​." 

With India expected to be the world’s fifth biggest consumer by 2025, according to a McKinsey Global Institute that predicted consumer spending to reach almost US$13tr five years later, Singapore sees the country as a lucrative destination which it is well placed to supply.

"The idea is to promote Singaporean food to India, give better choices to India. We have a free trade agreement with Singapore that would help us bring products at a much lower cost to consumers​,” said Amit Lohani, founder and director of FIFI.

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