Ministry of industry and Trade (MTI) has announced that Singapore and the United Kingdom (UK) have renewed the bilateral Economic and Business Partnership (EBP) on Tuesday (21 February), saying that the partnership paves the way for greater economic cooperation and new business opportunities in both countries.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang and the United Kingdom’s (UK) Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox signed the renewed EBP after their meeting in the afternoon.
MTI stated that both parties affirmed the robust and multi-faceted bilateral relations, and discussed the strengthening of economic cooperation and trade links.
Mr Liam Fox is in Singapore from 20 to 22 February on an official visit.
Minister Lim said, “The signing of the renewed EBP signals our joint commitment to strengthen bilateral economic relations. Against a backdrop of rising protectionist sentiments, Singapore and the UK as like-minded and forward-looking partners will stay the course on free and open trade.”
“We will work together to promote the development of an open global trading environment,” he added.
The Ministry said that the renewed EBP builds on the original agreement, which was signed in October 2011 by Mr Lim Hng Kiang and UK’s then-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Dr Vince Cable, to promote bilateral collaboration in the areas of businesses and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Research and Development, and policy exchanges (intellectual property, competition policy, horizon scanning and economic policy).
MTI said that the aim of the renewed agreement is to facilitate regular and strategic dialogue at the senior officials’ level.
“The views of businesses will continue to be invaluable given the dialogue’s focus on business engagement and facilitating business partnerships,” it said.
According to MTI, new areas of cooperation under the renewed EBP include collaborating on trade policy capacity-building initiatives and establishing a working group to deepen the strong trade and investment ties.
It stated that the UK is Singapore’s 4 th largest European trading partner, with total bilateral trade valued at S$11.4 billion.
As of end-2015, the Ministry said that Singapore’s total stock of direct investment into the UK was about S$35.4 billion, which represents close to 40 per cent of our total investments in Europe. Singapore is the UK’s largest trading and investment partner in ASEAN and is a gateway to the region for many British businesses.