Singapore and Philippines moving to boost economic ties

President Tan and President Duterte toasting last night at a banquet in honour of the visiting Philippine leader. Dr Tan said Singapore companies are keen to invest in the Philippines.
President Tan and President Duterte toasting last night at a banquet in honour of the visiting Philippine leader. Dr Tan said Singapore companies are keen to invest in the Philippines.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Singapore and the Philippines are taking steps to boost economic cooperation, with local companies encouraged to venture beyond its capital, Manila.

Cities such as Davao and Cebu are among prospective places they are urged to consider by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the agency that promotes international trade and partners Singapore companies in going global.

IE Singapore is also devoting more resources to step up its presence in the Philippines next year, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said yesterday. He was speaking at a banquet in the Istana in honour of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is on a two-day state visit to Singapore.

Dr Tan said Singapore companies are keen to invest in the Philippines, one of Asia's fastest-growing economies.

Despite its small size, Singapore is the Philippines' fourth-largest trading partner, after giants the United States, China and Japan.

 

Singapore companies can contribute to the Philippines' development of quality infrastructure, urban planning and information and communications technology services, he said, citing SIA Engineering and Singtel, both of which have operations in the Philippines.

President Duterte said in his speech that the two nations are further intensifying two-way trade and commerce, and expanding opportunities for investments to flourish.

"Indeed we have done much, and we can do more," he said.

He and his Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez will meet Singapore business leaders today.

President Duterte said: "I came to Singapore with a singular purpose - to renew and reaffirm the friendship and cooperation between our nations and people."

Earlier yesterday, he received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana and called on Dr Tan, who highlighted that both countries should explore ways to enhance connectivity to boost business links and promote tourism growth.

A Foreign Ministry statement said both leaders also agreed that there was room to further broaden and deepen ties, including strengthening security cooperation.

It also said Mr Duterte met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and both agreed Asean should work together to deal with transboundary challenges such as human and drug trafficking, and terrorism. The Philippines is chairman of Asean next year.

In a Facebook post, PM Lee said they discussed issues such as terrorism, the South China Sea and the US role in the region.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore and Philippines moving to boost economic ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe