Last year total UAE-Singapore trade clocked in at US$25.5 billion (Dh93.66bn), compared with $20.3bn in 2011, said Umej Bhatia, Singapore's Ambassador to the Emirates.
Driven by the oil and petrochemical industries, exports from the UAE to Singapore comprised the majority with $19.6bn. In the kingdom, volumes dipped slightly to $23.0bn from $23.2bn in 2011. The two oil producers made up the bulk of GCC trade with Asia's gateway, which totalled $68.6bn last year, up from $60.1bn the previous year.
"We have brand equity," said Mr Bhatia, who arrived in the emirate last month and is Singapore's first resident ambassador to the Emirates. "We have a positive reputation here."
The last time Singapore created a new resident ambassador position was in 2005 in Riyadh. Abu Dhabi, which chose Singapore as one of its four models for development along with Norway, Ireland and New Zealand in its ambitious 2030 plan, has forged numerous business ties with the island country over the years.
The marks of Singaporean firms can be seen throughout the capital in the futuristic pod cars zooming beneath Masdar City and the newly completed Rihan Heights residential development.
A shift in the nexus of economic development from the United States and Europe to the Middle East and Asia is helping to drive the cross-country ties, said the ambassador.
"There's a new sense of confidence that we can go out and start something together," said Mr Bhatia. "For the last 150 years, it's been the East looking to the West, but now it's the West looking to the East. Now you have that East-East cooperation."
Mr Bhatia, a former journalist, studied Arabic in Al Ain and helped to start Singapore's embassy in Qatar six years ago.
"We want the UAE to be a partner in our development," said Mr Bhatia, pointing out that the nations were nearly the same age, with Singapore gaining its independence only six years before the Emirates. "There's a lot of affinities in size and scale."
Singapore also recently joined the International Renewable Energy Agency, the UN body promoting clean energy that is headquartered in the capital. With a small land mass that is not the best for solar or wind arrays, Singapore was one of the later nations to join.
"We have full confidence in the hosts," said Mr Bhatia.