Singapore and Britain committed to creating closer economic and business links yesterday while reaffirming their bilateral ties.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang and Britain's Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox underscored the strong links by signing a renewed bilateral economic and business partnership agreement.
Mr Lim said the pact "signals our joint commitment to strengthen bilateral economic relations".
"Against a backdrop of rising protectionist sentiments, Singapore and Britain, as like-minded and forward-looking partners, will stay the course on free and open trade. We will work together to promote the development of an open global trading environment," he added.
The new version of the agreement adds to the original - signed in October 2011 - that aimed to facilitate regular, strategic discussion between senior officials. New areas of cooperation include collaborating on trade policy capacity-building initiatives and establishing a working group to deepen the two countries' strong trade and investment ties.
Britain is Singapore's fourth largest European trading partner, with total bilateral trade valued at about $11.4 billion last year. Singapore's direct investment in Britain was about $35.4 billion as at Dec 31 last year, almost 40 per cent of the country's total investments in Europe. It is also Britain's largest trading and investment partner in Asean.
"The views of businesses will continue to be valuable, given the dialogue's focus on business engagement and facilitating business partnerships," said Mr Lim.