New Zealand PM on official visit to Singapore

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will make an official visit to Singapore today, at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

During her visit, the leaders will sign a joint declaration to deepen bilateral cooperation in four areas for which discussions were launched two years ago.

The Singapore-New Zealand Enhanced Partnership will see the countries step up collaboration in trade and economics; security and defence; science, technology and innovation; and people-to-people links.

The prime ministers will also witness the signing of the upgraded Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (ANZSCEP), said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) yesterday. The ANZSCEP, which came into force in 2001, was Singapore's first bilateral free trade agreement, and New Zealand's second such agreement.

In addition, four memoranda of understanding covering science, technology and innovation; cyber security; the arts; and business cooperation will be inked today, the MFA said.

Ms Ardern will call on President Halimah Yacob and PM Lee during her visit.

The two prime ministers will also hold a joint press conference.


Mr Lee and Ms Ardern have met previously, at the Asean Summit held in Singapore last November and at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April last year.

Ms Ardern will be accompanied by New Zealand's Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister for Agriculture Damien O'Connor, as well as senior government officials.

Besides their strong economic ties, Singapore and New Zealand also cooperate closely on defence, through platforms such as the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus and the Five Power Defence Arrangements. The Singapore Armed Forces has been conducting artillery training in New Zealand since 1997.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2019, with the headline 'New Zealand PM on official visit to Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe