- POSTED: 12 Sep 2013 17:51
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Singapore sees challenges and opportunities in moving forward the Strategic Partnership Agreement with Vietnam.
HANOI: Singapore sees challenges and opportunities in moving forward the Strategic Partnership Agreement with Vietnam.
These are in the areas of political, economic and people-to-people ties, said Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Ms Fu, who is in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's delegation to Vietnam, added that Singapore is in a good position to tap Vietnam's industries especially as Vietnam has links to other countries through its various free trade agreements.
There have been many high-level exchanges between Singapore and Vietnam at the leaders' level.
And Ms Fu said Singapore would like to keep up the momentum under the strategic partnership, an agreement that paves the way for new areas of economic cooperation including in the banking sector.
She said: "They would like to seek our help in having a more robust regulatory framework. They recognise that's our strength. We are very happy to share whatever experiences we have.
"That is a good starting point for us to help build a stronger banking system that would be important to the health of the Vietnamese economy."
The minister notes that Vietnam has gone through a difficult period of time with its fiscal policies as well as its currency management.
"They have recognised the problem. They want to arrest and rectify the problem and they are taking concrete steps to build a stronger governance structure," said Ms Fu.
Singapore is Vietnam's second largest investor.
As for trade, Singapore is Vietnam's seventh largest trading partner.
Prime Minister Lee noted during his bilateral discussions with Vietnamese leaders that two-way trade has tripled over the past decade to almost US$12 billion last year.
Another area of cooperation that is set to grow under the Singapore-Vietnam Strategic Partnership is people-to-people ties, through growth in the aviation and education sectors.
Ms Fu said Vietnam is a very important country involved in the Singapore Cooperation Programme since it started in 1992.
Close to 14,000 Vietnamese officials have received different forms of training under this programme.