Tharman co-chairing Russia dialogue today

Annual meeting aims to boost bilateral ties; related business forum opens tomorrow

Singapore will host the ninth session of the high-level Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission today.

This year, it will be co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov.

The annual high-level bilateral dialogue aims to strengthen broad-based cooperation between Russia and Singapore.

During the meeting, the two leaders will discuss issues concerning both countries. A memorandum of understanding will also be signed between Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) from Singapore and the Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF) from Russia.

The collaboration aims to strengthen links between Singapore and Russian start-up ecosystems, and drive global innovation through joint initiatives.

These include structured market access programmes, knowledge programmes and workshops and access to in-market networks.

On June 1, Singapore and Russia marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

The dialogue with Russia was first established during a state visit to Singapore by then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in November 2009.

The inaugural meeting was held on Sept 27, 2010.

In conjunction with the meeting this year, the two deputy prime ministers will also participate in a dialogue at the Russia Singapore Business Forum tomorrow.

The forum is a platform for fostering business networking, partnerships, and experience sharing.

More than 300 government and business leaders from Russia and Singapore are expected to attend the event this year.

Russia was Singapore's 24th largest trading partner last year, and bilateral trade stood at $7.38 billion.

Last year, Singapore received 80,000 Russian visitors.

At this year's forum, both countries will take a closer look at Russian entrepreneurship, factors for successful cross-border collaborations, new shifts in the consumer retail landscape, and Russia as a potential market for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Enterprise Singapore, which is the organiser of the forum, said there are about 20 Singapore companies in Russia, in sectors such as technology, consumer goods and services, infrastructure, and trade.

Accompanying Mr Tharman at the dialogue are Manpower Minister and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Mohamad Maliki Osman, and Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2018, with the headline 'Tharman co-chairing Russia dialogue today'. Print Edition | Subscribe