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S’pore, Vietnam ink deals to boost cooperation in green, digital economies

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Singapore and Vietnam inked fresh deals to step up cooperation in the digital and green economies, as they continue building on recent bilateral collaboration in these fields.

The Green-Digital Economic Partnership was among four agreements signed during Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s official visit to Singapore on Thursday.

It forms an overarching framework that builds on four memoranda of cooperation (MOUs) signed in 2022 and covers energy, sustainability, infrastructure, digital and innovation as well as connectivity.

The signed documents of the government-to-government agreement were exchanged at the Istana between Manpower Minister Tan See Leng and Vietnam’s Planning and Investment Minister Nguyen Chi Dung. The exchange was witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Chinh.

Mr Chinh’s three-day visit kicks off a year of commemorative activities to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, whose ties are underpinned by regular high-level exchanges, trade and investment, and technical cooperation.

In a speech at an Istana official lunch, PM Lee said the longstanding and deep bilateral relationship is anchored by strong political trust and understanding between the leaders from both sides.

Other than economic cooperation and human resource development, he said, there are opportunities to work together in new areas, such as cyber security, carbon credits and sustainable infrastructure.

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.

In his speech, Mr Chinh said that more than half a century of companionship has strengthened the trust and stability in the Vietnam-Singapore relationship.

Both challenges and opportunities lie ahead, he said. Vietnam is “ever more determined” to strengthen the depth and substance of the strategic partnership amid a complicated and unpredictable international environment.

“The close bond between our two countries is an invariable factor to respond to an ever-changing world,” said Mr Chinh.

Another agreement signed on Thursday was an economic and trade cooperation work plan between the two countries’ ministries of trade and industry.

It builds on another MOU signed in February 2022, with implementation activities and goals for 2023. These include facilitating collaboration in the digital economy, such as electronic invoicing and e-commerce.

Opportunities for business matching between Singapore and Vietnam traders will be explored under the work plan, while cooperation in renewable energy, electricity, liquified natural gas and low-carbon solution projects will be enhanced.

The other two agreements pertain to maritime and port matters and a renewal of an MOU on youth cooperation – first signed in 2017 – for another five years to promote exchanges between youth leaders.

This is Mr Chinh’s first official visit to Singapore since he took office in 2021. He received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana on Thursday and called on President Halimah Yacob and PM Lee.

Earlier, he laid a wreath at the Ho Chi Minh Marker at Asian Civilisations Museum Green. Mr Chinh and his wife, Madam Le Thi Bich Tran, also had an orchid hybrid named in their honour – the Papilionanda Pham Le Tran Chinh – at the Botanic Gardens.

Singapore and Vietnam established diplomatic relations in 1973. Both countries also mark 10 years since the launch of a strategic partnership that upgraded ties in 2013.

Two other initiatives were concluded on the sidelines of Mr Chinh’s visit.

The intellectual property offices of both countries will launch a pilot collaborative search and examination programme, meant to speed up the entry of innovative products and new services into the two markets; and an MOU between the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam will cover staff visits, exchanges and joint research activities.

Mr Chinh is scheduled to meet Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean on Thursday. He will meet Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and address a business forum on Friday.

By Lim Min Zhang – The Straits Times – February 9, 2023

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