It is in the mutual interest of Singapore and Canada to grow their trade and economic relations while working together on strengthening a global rules-based trading system, said Ms Mary Ng, Canada's Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade.
"There is both an immense interest and an opportunity in strengthening the economic and cultural ties between our countries, from working together to bolster rules-based trade to working on collaborations like our (memorandum of understanding) on infrastructure in building smart cities," she said yesterday at a webinar organised by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation.
She added that ties between the two countries have become stronger amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has given rise to new areas of collaboration.
"It's very clear that both of our countries recognise the importance of addressing the pandemic by supporting our people and our businesses. But we also know that we must plan for a sustainable and inclusive recovery that creates jobs and generates wealth well into the future," she said.
Ms Ng said that throughout the Covid-19 crisis, she had been in close contact with her Singaporean counterpart, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, as well as other ministers.
Both countries recognise the need to collaborate and bolster trade and investment relations to create jobs and opportunities for big and small businesses, she added.
Ms Ng said Singapore is Canada's largest destination of foreign direct investment in South-east Asia.
The value of Canada's bilateral merchandise trade with Singapore reached $2.53 billion in 2018, and services trade hit $3.07 billion.
She said the relationship between the two nations has been carved out by many great businesses.
She cited Manulife Singapore, which employs more than 600 people at its 28-storey building in the Central Business District here, and Singapore's GIC, which has invested in Canada's Oxford Properties and iconic Fairmont hotels.
"Canada is consistently seen as one of the best and safest countries in the world to do business, and our government is working to attract even more investment from Singaporean entities, whether it is PSA, Temasek or Pacific Oil & Gas," Ms Ng said.
She noted that clean technology has emerged as a new area of business interest in both countries.
She mentioned Singapore concrete supplier Pan-United, which has a collaboration with Canadian firm CarbonCure Technologies. CarbonCure's technology converts carbon dioxide captured from industrial emitters into a nano-mineral embedded in concrete, making it greener and stronger.
There were also presentations by Canadian officials aimed at encouraging Singapore manufacturers to invest and set up businesses in Canada.
Mr Vishal Vijay, director of Singapore's Agrocorp Processing, spoke of how his company's food processing business has flourished in Canada.