SINGAPORE: Singapore and Vietnam have signed a suite of agreements that will see both countries working together in areas such as financial innovation and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) development.
Six Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) were signed on the first day of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's visit to Singapore on Wednesday (Apr 25). His visit is in conjunction with the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Vietnam this year.
One of the agreements will see the two countries collaborate on LNG development in Vietnam, which entails the exchange of information, sharing of best practices and building of technical capacity between the private and public sectors of both countries. This will enable Singapore companies to better understand the needs of the LNG sector in Vietnam and seize more partnership opportunities.
Another MOU - on financial innovation - will facilitate joint projects between the two countries, help FinTech companies in one jurisdiction better understand the regulatory regime and opportunities in the other, as well as encourage the sharing of information on emerging FinTech trends and developments.
Mr Phuc, who is on his first official visit to Singapore since becoming Prime Minister in April 2016, began his visit with a ceremonial welcome at the Istana, followed by a call on President Halimah Yacob.
At his meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, both leaders said that extensive investment and trade ties form a key pillar of Singapore-Vietnam relations, and agreed that measures such as enforcing regulations as well as strengthening business-to-business links were important in creating a pro-business environment. Both countries will organise events this year to strengthen political, trade and people-to-people exchanges.
Singapore was Vietnam's third largest foreign investor in 2017, with over US$43.2 billion (S$57 billion) invested in more than 1,800 projects.
Mr Phuc said Vietnam welcomes more investments from Singapore, particularly in areas such as high-tech parks and the digital economy. He added that such cooperation would not only bring about economic interest, but also inspire and promote the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in Vietnam's younger generation.
PM Lee said the partnership between both countries goes beyond economic cooperation.
"Our two countries are also working closely on sustainable development," he said. "NParks is working together with the Hanoi People's Committee on greenery planting. We support Hanoi's plans to plant one million trees over the next five years and we hope to see more green spaces like the area near Hoan Kiem Lake in future."
Mr Lee said that Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang in Vietnam will be part of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network which is being proposed by Singapore as the ASEAN chair. He added that he was impressed with their rapid urban development, which he saw when he visited all three cities during his two visits to Vietnam last year.
“Their inclusion to the Smart Cities Network will add to ASEAN’s vibrancy,” he said.