Saturday, October 23

Catalyst to boost Sarawak exports

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Government aims to increase export market to Singapore by 30 pct in two years through newly-opened Statos

Abang Johari takes a closer look at a woven handbag on display at Statos. With him is Abdul Karim.

SINGAPORE: The Sarawak government is targeting an increase in the state’s export to Singapore by at least 30 per cent between this year and 2020, with the opening of the Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (Statos).

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said last year, Sarawak’s total export to Singapore was RM1.2 billion while total imports from the island nation was RM1.6 billion.

“With this facility available in Singapore and also through collaboration with the Singapore business community, I believe within two years we can target about 30 per cent in terms of our export to Singapore,” he told a press conference after officiating the soft opening of Statos office at Robinson Road, here, yesterday.

He said the major items traded between Sarawak and Singapore are machinery and transport equipment, mineral fuels, lubricants and food.

On Statos, Abang Johari said the office will serve as a one-stop centre for investment and businesses, as well as tourism players in Singapore, to know more about Sarawak on a daily basis, adding it is one of the strategies undertaken by the Sarawak government to explore the global market, bring in more investments, promote trade and attract more tourists to the state.

“Statos is the base for the Sarawak government to promote our products and, at the same time, for the trading houses in Singapore to distribute our products through joint collaboration between Sarawak and Singapore’s business communities.

“The experts in Singapore will work together with the business community in Sarawak and through this collaboration, we can link with markets overseas.”

Abang Johari (centre) together with (from left) Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, Statos deputy CEO Putrie Rozana Soraya Roslan, Uggah, Abdul Karim, Masing and Lee show some of the local products on display at Statos.

The chief minister also mentioned that Statos will facilitate Sarawak’s trade in creating comprehensive and up-to-date database on the list of importers from Singapore and exporters from Sarawak, and to undertake analysis on trade which include information on market trends, market alert, trade statistics, trade leads which could be obtained from various sources, namely trade online news, portal, directories and publications.

On the state’s tourism front, he said Statos will also be facilitating to create a complete database on Sarawak tourism products and activities; undertake analysis on tourism trends and tourist preference and expenditure pattern in Singapore and globally; develop marketing strategies to attract more tourists to Sarawak through the formulation of innovative product packages, attractive incentives, facilitate engagement with travel agents, tour operators, airlines, hotels, restaurants and tour guides; and to organise tourism marketing and promotional activities with tourism industry players through meeting, conference and exhibition on the opportunity available in the Sarawak tourism industry.

He pointed out that the establishment of Statos is timely and critical to leverage on Singapore strategic position as the global trade hub and gateway for Sarawak products to the global market, and to tap into the huge Singapore market with a total trade volume of SGD$1.1 trillion and gross domestic product of SGD$487.1 billion in 2018.

Abang Johari cuts a ribbon to officiate the opening of Statos. Looking on are Uggah (fourth left), Masing (right), Abdul Karim (third left), Lee (second left) and others.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari said the Sarawak government will also be setting up a similar trade and tourism office in Pontianak, West Kalimantan and Brunei.

“Hopefully the office in Pontianak can be established within this year. We are currently identifying the location there,” he said, adding that the state’s trade with Kalimantan has also increased particularly in terms of medical tourism.

Around 100 invited guests from Sarawak and Singapore attended the event including deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, and Statos chief executive officer Chew Chang Guan.