DPM Tharman to visit Russia on a week-long trip

DEPUTY Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will set off for Russia on Tuesday on a week-long visit to deepen bilateral collaborations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

Mr Tharman, who is also finance minister, will first make a stop in St. Petersburg, where he will co-chair Wednesday's Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) with Mr Igor Shuvalov, Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister.

Now in its fourth year, the IGC was first established in 2010 following Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's state visit to Singapore in 2009.

The IGC has been a platform for the two countries to promote broad-based bilateral collaborations across many sectors, including trade and investment, information and communication technology, scientific research, culture and tourism.

In last year's session, the Russian delegation also expressed interest in learning from Singapore's public housing model, the Central Provident Fund and other targeted assistance schemes.

Mr Tharman will also take part in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday, where he will speak at a panel titled Making the Tough Decisions in Reforming Global Finance.

He will then travel to Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, at the invitation of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov.

The Tatarstan leader first warmed up to Singapore after he met Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 2007, when the then-Minister Mentor visited Kazan.

Mr Tharman's trip will end on Sunday.

He will be accompanied by Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry as well as National Development, Dr Amy Khor, Minister of State for Health and Manpower, and Ms Josephine Teo, Minister of State for Finance and Transport. A Singapore business delegation will also be part of the trip.