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Russia to increase trade with Singapore to $5 billion
Mikhail Tsyganov, RIA Novosti

SINGAPORE - Russia’s goal is to increase trade with Singapore to at least $5 billion by 2015, German Gref, Russia’s minister of economic development and trade, told journalists on Monday. He has come here for the second Russian-Singaporean business forum.

Gref said that during the first forum in March 2006, the two countries set a goal of increasing bilateral trade to $1 billion within two or three years, but they ended up reaching $1.2 billion within a year.

Singapore has become one of Russia’s five fastest-growing trade partners, the minister said.

“We are trying to create an accurate image of Singapore in Russia,” Gref said in reply to a RIA Novosti question about the view of the Merlion City according to a still popular song as a “banana-lemon heaven.”

“Singapore has many modern things to offer,” including high-tech industries and modern systems of education and healthcare, the minister said.
During his visit, he has already discussed the possibility of attracting Singapore’s best companies to design Olympic facilities for Sochi, a Russian resort city on the Black Sea coast that is a candidate to host the 2014 Olympics, and facilities for a possible Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Vladivostok, on the Pacific coast.

The facilities in Sochi will be built on time, Gref said, because work is proceeding on them ahead of schedule.
As for the Vladivostok summit, its presentation in Singapore has created significant interest.

“At the same time, we are trying to change Singaporeans’ view of Russia as a huge cold country with roaming bears and weapons arsenals,” Gref said.

He said 200 Russian companies had sent delegates to the second Russian-Singaporean business forum. “In all, the Russian delegation includes more than 600 people,” the minister said.

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