BUENOS AIRES • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had separate meetings with the leaders of Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands and South Africa on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Argentina on Friday and yesterday.
He met Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday, and they reaffirmed the warm and substantive relations between the Netherlands and Singapore
They also discussed new areas of cooperation like the digital economy, said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in a statement.
"They noted that both countries are among the top trading nations in the world, and share common interests in an open, rules-based multilateral trading system," said the PMO.
The two leaders also welcomed the signing of the European Union-Singapore free trade agreement which would further strengthen Singapore-Netherlands relations, and Mr Rutte expressed support for the agreement's early ratification by the European Parliament.
PM Lee also met the Netherlands' Queen Maxima, who is the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.
They discussed yesterday how to further promote innovation, fintech and financial inclusion in their countries as well as in Asean.
PM Lee thanked Queen Maxima for the warm hospitality shown to President Halimah Yacob, who had made a state visit to the Netherlands last week.
PM Lee also met outgoing Brazilian President Michel Temer and conveyed Singapore's commitment to working closely with Brazil's incoming president Jair Bolsonaro and his administration to continue strengthening the relationship between the two countries.
PM Lee thanked Mr Temer during the meeting on Friday for his steadfast support for the Singapore-Brazil relationship, which has progressed considerably over the past two years, particularly in terms of economics, said the PMO.
Both leaders also looked forward to the ratification of the avoidance of double taxation agreement and first round of negotiations early next year on a free trade pact between Singapore and Mercosur, a South American customs union comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Yesterday, PM Lee met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and both men reaffirmed the warm ties between their countries. Both leaders discussed issues of common interest such as the management of sovereign wealth funds and government-linked companies, and exchanged views on public housing and other social policies, said the PMO.
PM Lee later met Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and they discussed ways to expand trade and investments between their countries as well as between their respective regions.
They also agreed to explore ways to enhance cooperation in other areas including innovation and technology.
Mr Conte said Italy was interested in taking part in the Singapore FinTech Festival next year, said the PMO.