Singapore, US ink pact on infrastructure finance and market building

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education Indranee Rajah with US Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich in Washington on Wednesday.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education Indranee Rajah with US Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich in Washington on Wednesday.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FINANCE

Agreement builds on moves to support investments, info sharing and infrastructure development

Singapore and the United States have inked a pact to strengthen cooperation in infrastructure finance and market building.

The agreement was signed on Wednesday in Washington by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education Indranee Rajah and US Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich.

It took place on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) Finance Ministers' and Central Bank Governors' Meeting and annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.

A Ministry of Finance (MOF) statement said the agreement builds on the broader cooperation between the two countries to facilitate technical exchanges and information sharing, support infrastructure development in South-east Asia and promote private sector investments. The measures may include crowding in institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies, and developing regional debt markets for infrastructure financing.

The new pact will be implemented by agencies such as the MOF, Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

During a roundtable with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Thursday, Ms Indranee said that Singapore, with its vibrant infrastructure ecosystem, can be a valuable partner for the US.

More than half, or 60 per cent, of project finance transactions in Asean are now arranged by Singapore-based banks. The Republic has introduced the Singapore Infrastructure Dispute-Management Protocol, where a panel of experts gives advice to solve infrastructure disputes at an early stage.

Ms Indranee also welcomed the setting up of the US International Development Finance Corporation, a federal agency that aims to finance development projects.

"We hope that it will step up its engagements with countries in the Asian region and broker more infrastructure deals that will contribute to shared prosperity," she said.

Ms Indranee is on a six-day visit to Chile and the US that ends today. She is accompanied by officials from the MOF, MAS, Enterprise Singapore and Infrastructure Asia.

The latest agreement follows five other pacts Singapore signed during the Asia Infrastructure Forum in the first week of this month, including with Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The G-20's Global Infrastructure Hub has estimated that developing Asia requires US$51 trillion (S$70 trillion) in infrastructure investment through 2040 to maintain its current growth momentum.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore, US ink pact on infrastructure finance and market building'. Print Edition | Subscribe