TALLINN – Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas together with Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Lawrence Wong opened the Estonian embassy and business hub in Singapore on Monday.
In her speech at the opening of the embassy, Kallas emphasized that Estonia and Singapore have a lot in common.
"Over the years, we have built a close bilateral relationship with Singapore. Estonia and Singapore are both small countries with open economies. We are also one of the most advanced digital societies in the world, which value innovation and technology as well as high-quality education. We have a lot to learn from each other and to offer to the rest of the world," the prime minister said.
Kallas added that, as small countries, we, like Singapore, value the international order based on international law and the UN Charter as well as the need to protect it.
"Russia's aggression against Ukraine must not pay off, otherwise it will embolden all other potential aggressors in the world. The security of Europe and Asia is clearly connected and here too there must be no place for the politics of spheres of influence. Estonia is interested in stability and peace in Southeast Asia and in the wider Indian and Pacific Ocean regions. To do this, it is important for us to understand the concerns and views of the region here, and in order to do this better, we need to be present here as well," Kallas said.
She pointed out that the interest of Estonian companies in Singapore and the broader Southeast Asian region has grown significantly.
"The Estonian state wants to help our companies in distant markets. Similarly, it is important to actively introduce Estonia's stable economic environment and opportunities to Singaporean entrepreneurs -- Estonia is a very good investment destination. That is why I am glad that an business hub will open next to the embassy. Estonian companies see Singapore as a hub and a gateway to Southeast Asia, and Estonia can be a gateway to Northern Europe for Singaporean entrepreneurs," the prime minister said.
Estonian Ambassador to Singapore Priit Turk also stressed that quite a few Estonian companies, such as Wise, Guardtime, Funderbeam, ClamBeat, Cybernetica, Ridango and others, have found their way to Singapore and the wider region. However, for many of our companies, the opportunities of Southeast Asia, with the world's fastest economic growth potential and over 700 million inhabitants, are yet to be discovered.
"The embassy and the business hub seek to increase the visibility of Estonia and our companies in Singapore and the surrounding countries in order to help companies enter the market here and find cooperation partners, as well as bring investments to Estonia. All the more so since Singaporean financial companies are important global investors and foremost invest in new technologies and research-intensive solutions," Turk said.
Turk also noted that, in addition to the development of business and economic diplomacy, one of the embassy's important areas of work is the provision of services and consular assistance to Estonian citizens.
"The number of Estonians living and working in Singapore is increasing. Singapore is also located at the intersection of several popular travel routes and good connections with other countries in the region make it possible to provide consular services," he added.
The embassy and business hub are located in the heart of the Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore. The interior design of the rooms has been inspired by Estonian nature and cultural heritage and Estonia as an innovative technology and digital country.
"Our premises tell the story of Estonia. A story where unspoilt nature, long cultural traditions and technological innovation intertwine. The hub provides Estonian companies an ideal opportunity to establish business relations with partners in Singapore and the region, organize events and introduce Estonia," Johanna-Riinu Annuk, manager of the business hub, said.
The premises of the embassy and the business hub have been designed by the b210 architectural firm. The interior architects of the embassy and business hub are Mari Hunt and Jekaterina Zakilova, while Kristian Taaksalu and Nele Sverns also contributed. The lighting designers are Mariliis Kundla and Marko Kuusik from ITK Lighting. The premises were built by the Singaporean company Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultants Pte Ltd, the project manager was Julius Megia.
Estonia's first resident ambassador in Singapore, Priit Turk, presented his credentials to President of Singapore Halimah Yacob on Aug. 31, 2021.