Singapore and Hungary can strengthen ties in economics and research: President Tony Tan

There is much potential for Singapore and Hungary to strengthen ties in areas such as economics and research, President Tony Tan Keng Yam told reporters during a joint press appearance with his Hungarian counterpart Janos Ader on Tuesday.

Though bilateral ties are already "very good", Dr Tan noted areas where even more could be done.

One was economics, with bilateral trade now at around $1 billion and a major trade pact between the European Union and Singapore in the works. Both sides hope the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreeement can be "ratified expeditiously", said Dr Tan on the first day of his official visit to Hungary.

Educational exchanges, scientific research and water management are other areas in which both states could collaborate, he added. He will visit the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on Thursday, where he hopes to explore areas for collaboration between both countries' researchers.

President Ader cited tourism, biotechnology and food or pharmaceutical industries as possible areas of co-operation.

Both heads of state were speaking after their delegations met for an hour-long discussion in Sandor Palace, where Dr Tan was welcomed earlier in the day.