Singapore, Vietnam seek to strengthen economic cooperation

08:37 | 22/05/2018 Vietnam - Asean

(VEN) - Singapore and Vietnam have signed six agreements on cooperation in areas such as environmental protection, banking supervision, financial innovation, renewable energy, liquefied natural gas (LNG) development, and standards and conformance areas. The memoranda of understanding were inked during the visit to Singapore by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc from April 25-27.

singapore vietnam seek to strengthen economic cooperation
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) meets his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong during his visit between April 25-27

Extensive cooperation

The visit was a key highlight of the events marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Singapore and the fifth anniversary of their strategic partnership. The two sides noted that their extensive investment and trade ties form a key pillar of their bilateral relationship.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong discussed the measures needed to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the newly-signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the fourth industrial revolution.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong vowed that Singapore would continue increasing its investment in Vietnam in new sectors, with high-tech application, such as clean energy, waste treatment, water management, and the construction of high-tech parks and smart cities.

Singapore will also support Vietnam in the construction of seaports and the development of logistics services and high-tech agriculture. In addition, it will invest in Vietnamese technological startups. Singapore will consider facilitating the access of Vietnamese exports, especially agro-forestry-fishery products, to the Singaporean market. Stressing the significance of cooperation in personnel training, PM Loong affirmed that Singapore would increase scholarships for Vietnamese students and help Vietnam with English language teaching and labor training.

Encouraging investment in Vietnam

Prime Minister Phuc said that five years after the establishment of the strategic partnership, Singapore has over 2,000 investment projects in Vietnam with total capital of more than US$43 billion, and two-way trade has reached nearly US$8.5 billion. Vietnam also has invested in nearly 100 projects valued at more than US$200 million in Singapore. In addition, up to 280,000 Singaporean tourists come to Vietnam annually.

According to data compiled by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, bilateral trade turnover between Vietnam and Singapore reached nearly US$8.3 billion in 2017, an increase of 15 percent compared to 2016.

Vietnam’s exports to Singapore reached more than US$2.96 billion, a year-on-year increase of 22.4 percent, with the main exports being computers, electronic products and components, glass and glass products, phones and components, machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts, vehicles, and crude oil. Vietnam’s imports from Singapore stood at US$5.3 billion, a year-on-year increase of 11.3 percent, with the main imports being petroleum products, computers, electronic products and components, machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts, and plastic materials. In the first quarter of 2018, total trade turnover between the two countries reached US$1.9 billion, a drop of 0.6 percent compared to a year ago. Vietnam’s exports to Singapore increased by 13.7 percent to US$761 million, while imports declined by 8.1 percent to US$1.17 billion.

PM Phuc told participants of the Vietnam-Singapore Business Forum 2018 that the Vietnamese government is committed to the best possible conditions for startup initiatives and intellectual property (IP) rights protection within the framework of the Law on Intellectual Property recently approved by the Vietnamese National Assembly. It is also committed to the protection of IP rights within the framework of free trade agreements (FTAs) to which Vietnam is a signatory. In that spirit, he called on Singaporean partners to continue to share their experience and achievements in startups with Vietnam.

Following his official visit to Singapore from April 25-27, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the 32nd summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the city-state. ASEAN leaders discussed directions and measures to strengthen the resilience, solidarity, and unity of the 10-nation alliance.

Huong Nguyen