Russia, Singapore eye new commercial tie-ups

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Mr Igor Shuvalov at the high-level meeting in Moscow yesterday.
Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Mr Igor Shuvalov at the high-level meeting in Moscow yesterday. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SINGAPORE

Fish from Singapore may be sold in Russia soon, while poultry from Russia may make its way to Singapore stores.

The two countries are expected to start mutual food exports soon, following site inspections and exchange of audit reports by their government agencies, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement yesterday.

Other growing commercial collaborations between the two countries, particularly in the service, aviation, energy and agriculture sectors, were discussed at the eighth session of the High-Level Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) held in Moscow yesterday.

The session was co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

Both sides reaffirmed the steady growth in the strength and substance of the bilateral relationship, supported by the IGC, said the MFA statement.

The DPMs reviewed the good progress made on negotiating the free trade agreement between Singapore and the Eurasian Economic Union, and looked forward to the second round of negotiations scheduled next month.

Singapore first proposed the pact in 2015 with the economic bloc comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, which together represent a market of about 183 million people.

The DPMs also witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Institute of Modern Arbitration of the Russian Federation, which will see them cooperate on training, among other things.

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Russia next year, Mr Tharman and Mr Shuvalov agreed that there is much potential for cooperation in new areas such as in innovation and the digital economy.

During the talks, the two governments agreed to explore collaboration in emerging information and communications technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and cyber security.

They also plan to encourage educational institutions in both countries to develop direct partnerships and foster academic mobility.

Companies such as Olam International, NuStar Technologies and Surbana Jurong are also looking to expand their presence in Russia.

Accompanying Mr Tharman on the two-day visit to Russia were Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs; Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah; Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and National Development Koh Poh Koon; and other government officials.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2017, with the headline 'Russia, Singapore eye new commercial tie-ups'. Print Edition | Subscribe