Singapore, France to collaborate further in innovation

French President Francois Hollande with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore on March 27, 2017.
French President Francois Hollande with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore on March 27, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Singapore and France will deepen their cooperation in industries related to innovation such as space technology, smart cities planning and financial technology.

This was spelled out in a joint declaration by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Francois Hollande yesterday, the second and last day of the French leader's state visit to Singapore.

Mr Hollande called on Mr Lee at the Istana, and was hosted to lunch at the Wild Rocket @ Mount Emily restaurant, which serves modern Singaporean cuisine.

The leaders reviewed the substantial and broad-based relations between Singapore and France, said a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

They also welcomed the strong progress in the relationship between the two countries after it was elevated to a strategic partnership in 2012.


Since then, both countries have expanded their ties in trade, defence, culture, security, cyber security, education and research, said the MFA.

The ministry also said Mr Lee and Mr Hollande agreed that the ratification of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement will benefit both countries, and help strengthen relations between the two countries and regions.

They noted that Singapore and France share common views on the importance of free trade and remaining open to the world.

Mr Lee thanked Mr Hollande for France's hosting of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's advanced training jet detachment in Cazaux. It will mark its 20th anniversary next year.

The year 2018 will also be the France-Singapore Year of Innovation, under the joint declaration of innovation.

Events that encourage more collaboration in innovation will be held in both countries. 

Singapore and France prioritise the strengthening of their respective innovation ecosystems, including programmes to promote research and development, as well as support entrepreneurs in the area of innovation, said the declaration.

In it, Mr Lee and Mr Hollande agreed that their countries have much to learn from each other's experience and approach to fostering innovation, and can work well together for mutual benefit.

Ten agreements were signed at the Singapore-France Innovation Forum yesterday, paving the way for research collaboration in areas including digital engineering and electric vehicles.

Four more agreements were also inked at the Istana.

These were in research and innovation collaboration, space research, renewable energy and automatic exchange of financial account information to improve compliance with international tax standards.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore, France to collaborate further in innovation'. Print Edition | Subscribe