With Singapore food and beverage exports to the GCC continuing to grow, the country has the strongest presence on record at Gulfood 2014, one of the largest annual trade events for the global F&B industry. 48 Singapore food companies will be displaying their products at Dubai World Trade Centre from 23 to 27 February 2014, in a bid to further boost trade to the Gulf region.
According to International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the government agency promoting the overseas growth of Singapore-based enterprises and international trade, the recently-ratified GCC-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA) is set to open up more opportunities for Singapore companies in the GCC, a significant market for its F&B industry. The GSFTA is the first free trade agreement between the GCC and a non-Middle East country.
The GCC is now the 12th largest destination for Singapore F&B exports globally and its largest export market for coffee and spices. Over the last five years, Singapore F&B exports to the GCC have grown at an annual rate of 5%, reaching US$238 million in 2013.
Lester Lu, Regional Director in Dubai for IE Singapore, said, “The UAE remains the top export market for Singapore F&B companies, accounting for 46.5% of Singapore’s exports to the GCC. With the ratification of the GSFTA, the mutual recognition of Halal standards and enhanced price competitiveness of products, this will contribute to the continued growth of Singapore’s F&B exports.”
Currently, four GCC countries, namely Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, recognise the Singapore MUIS Halal Standards (SMHS) as similar and consistent to domestic Halal standards. Singapore is currently looking to begin discussions with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, to open up more opportunities in Singapore’s export of Halal products to the GCC.
Increasing receptiveness to Asian food and growing awareness of Singapore brands in the Middle East has seen many Singapore companies strengthen their regional presence in recent years. Tai Hua, producer of ready-made sauces, is now stocked by major supermarkets across the region. Brands such as Sin Mui Heng and Tee Yih Jia, which produce frozen Chinese dimsum, have been well-received by retailers and distributors across Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
To tap into these opportunities, Singapore exhibitors are bringing a wide range of authentic-tasting and Halal-certified Singapore-made products to Gulfood 2014. Jumain Sataysfaction will be showcasing Singapore Satay, or Singapore-style meat skewers. Prima Taste, manufacturer of ready-made sauces and convenient gourmet meals, is launching Singapore Chilli Crab LaMian, a noodle dish inspired by Singapore’s iconic dish of chilli crab.
“Singapore’s strengthened presence at Gulfood reaffirms the importance of the show as a trade gateway to the Middle East. Last year our companies generated US$20.1 million in food and beverage sales at the event. With more than half our exhibitors launching new products this year, we are hopeful of surpassing that result,” added Mr. Lu.
Themed “Best in Asia”, the Singapore Pavilion is organised by the Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association (SFMA) with the support of IE Singapore, and located in Sheikh Rashid Hall of the Dubai World Trade Centre.