Singapore and Germany agree to strengthen cooperation in sustainable development, green economy
SINGAPORE: Germany and Singapore on Monday (Nov 14) endorsed a joint declaration to strengthen their partnership amid global challenges such as climate change, supply chain disruptions and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The declaration, signed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, will serve as a blueprint for new and emerging areas of cooperation in the years to come, covering areas such as sustainable development and the green economy.
The announcement was made during Mr Scholz’s first visit to Singapore.
Mr Scholz is on a four-day trip in Asia, having been in Vietnam on Sunday. He will then attend the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia on Tuesday.
On Monday, Mr Scholz received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana and had a new orchid hybrid, the Renanthera Olaf Scholz, named in his honour. He also called on President Halimah Yacob.
He and Mr Lee then held a joint press conference with members of the media from Singapore and Germany, before he attended an official dinner hosted by Mr Lee.
The joint declaration between both nations, titled “Partners for a Resilient and Sustainable future”, builds upon the first declaration signed by Mr Lee and then-chancellor Angela Merkel in December 2005.
Mr Lee said during Monday’s press conference that it covers areas like:
- The future of manufacturing
- Industry 4.0
- Vocational education
- Science and technology
- Sustainable development
- The green economy
In a press release, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that in terms of sustainability and the green economy, both nations aim to deepen cooperation through initiatives under the new Germany-Singapore Framework for Sustainability and Innovation.
This framework will pave the way for economic partnerships and engagement in sectors like mobility and green technology, said MFA.
The framework was signed on Sunday by Dr Robert Habeck, Germany’s federal minister for economic affairs and climate action, and Mr S Iswaran, Singapore’s minister-in-charge of trade relations at the 17th Asia-Pacific Conference for German Business held here.
In the area of defence and security, MFA said that both nations will explore further opportunities for bilateral training between their navies, armies and air forces.
At Monday’s press conference, Mr Lee said that he will visit the German city of Kiel next month for the launch of two Republic of Singapore Navy submarines.
ECONOMIC LINKS, G20 SUMMIT HOPES
Mr Lee added that he and Mr Scholz have reaffirmed their excellent bilateral relations, with economic links between both countries staying strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Scholz was accompanied by senior officials from the German Federal Chancellery and a business delegation comprising CEOs of top German companies.
Mr Lee also noted that Germany is Singapore’s largest trading partner in the European Union and “one of our most important foreign investors”.
When CNA asked Mr Scholz what his sense of the business opportunities in Southeast Asia was, as well as the role of Singapore in German businesses, the chancellor said that the region will “play a very important role in the world to come”.
He added: “We are working very hard to cooperate, to develop our already good relations, and also to prepare our cooperation with the whole region for the future. There are a lot of advantages we can reach and we can work for, and that is why I’m here with this business delegation.
“I can just tell you that all the business leaders here and from Germany told me they are very convinced that this will be a very good future if we cooperate.”
Mr Scholz and Mr Lee also addressed questions on the G20 summit, with Mr Lee saying that all the difficult issues will be on the table such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“I do not expect any breakthroughs on any of them," Mr Lee added. "I hope there will be a consensus on most of them, on the general direction to move ahead.
“I believe that on a few particularly vexed issues, a consensus will be extremely difficult to achieve, but we accept that as it is.
"We are in danger on climate, we are heading in the wrong direction. On geo-strategic issues, the problems are worsening rather than improving, and we need to make progress at that.”
He added that the opportunities for leaders to get together and hear one another “will help us be able to grapple with the issues and, I hope, make more progress.”
Mr Scholz said it will be difficult to foresee the outcome of the summit.
He added: “We are working to the best of our ability to reach agreements on topics that are the focus of the world’s attention — climate change, economic development and also, of course, the questions that turn around peace and the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”