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Singapore’s confidence in Vietnam is strong: Lee Hsien Loong
Minh Nguyen 23:43, 2023/02/09
Cooperation in emerging areas like renewable energy, carbon credits, and the digital economy will boost economic ties between the two countries.

Singapore as the leading investor in Vietnam over the past three years has demonstrated its confidence in the country’s economy and prospects, said Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in talks with Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh, who is on his three-day visit to Singapore starting on February 8.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Feb 9. Photos: Nhat Bac/VGP

PM Lee said the longstanding and deep bilateral relationship is anchored by trust and understanding between the leaders from both sides.

He lauded Vietnam for its “remarkable” recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, calling economic cooperation a “key pillar” of the bilateral relationship.

In 2022, Vietnam’s GDP grew 8.02%, the fastest expansion in 25 years, backed by strong domestic retail sales and exports, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in the year.

In his speech, PM Lee mentioned the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs), which he called “concrete symbols” of the cooperation between the two ASEAN member states.

He described the VSIPs as having “grown tremendously in scale and number” since the launch of the first project in 1996. So far, there are 12 VSIPs across Northern, Central, and Southern Vietnam. Together they have attracted US$17 billion in investments and created over 300,000 jobs.

Regarding opportunities, PM Lee took digital economy, cybersecurity, renewable energy, carbon credits, and sustainable infrastructure as concrete examples of cooperation in the years to come.

“Vietnam has vast potential for renewable energy. Singapore is keen to collaborate on renewable energy and carbon credits for the long term,” he said. “This collaboration will strengthen energy security in Southeast Asia and help the region achieve our net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050.”

Both Vietnam and Singapore are committed to the net-zero path by that year.

Singapore and Vietnam share similar outlooks on many regional issues, including a commitment to uphold ASEAN Centrality and Unity. “As close partners, Singapore and Vietnam look forward to the friendship growing stronger in the coming years,” said PM Lee.

 The exchange of an MOU on Green and Digital Economic Partnership. 

Solid foundation and new areas of cooperation

Also, at the meeting on February 9, Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh noted how bilateral relations have strengthened over the last 50 years “with strengthened trust and stability.”

PM Chinh said visits and contacts at all levels, especially the high level, have become an important catalyst, increasing political trust and laying a solid foundation for the confidence of the two countries’ businesses and investors.

“Singapore has always been an important economic partner, supporting Vietnam throughout its reform, opening-up, and development journey,” he noted.

At the meeting with PM Lee, PM Chinh expected Singapore to sign an agreement on labor to recruit Vietnamese laborers. He also asked Singapore to extend support in vocational training for 2021-2030 and training youth leaders. In addition, he requested Singapore to increase the import of Vietnamese agricultural products, garments, and textiles.

Lee seconded Chinh’s request to expand the VSIP network and boost cooperation in green energy and power purchase.

On the same day, PM Chinh met Singaporean President Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Sharing the same idea with PM Lee, Tan Chuan-Jin expressed his impression of Vietnam’s economic growth, saying that Vietnam is one of the leading economic models in the region.

Today, both prime ministers witnessed the signing of four between-government agreements, including one on a Green and Digital Economic Partnership. It’s an overarching framework that aims to advance collaboration in the green and digital economy, covering energy, sustainability, infrastructure, digital and innovation, and connectivity.

The other agreements included one on the Economic and Trade Cooperation Workplan, which sets out this year’s activities and goals for Singapore and Vietnam to enhance bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Another agreement is on maritime and port matters and the renewal of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on youth cooperation, first signed in 2017, for another five years to promote exchanges between youth leaders.

On February 10, Chinh will speak at a business forum at the Shangri-la Hotel and meet Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong before leaving for Brunei for the second leg of his overseas trip.

 PM Chinh visits a center for smart city models.  
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