WASHINGTON - Singapore and the United States are setting up a platform to help companies from both countries work together to pursue opportunities in third-party markets.
A memorandum of understanding signed in Washington on Monday (Tuesday morning Singapore time) establishes a Singapore-US Collaboration platform meant to help both sides leverage on the strengths of the other. American firms will be able to take advantage of Singapore's position as a gateway to South-east Asia while Singapore companies will be able to tap on US networks as well as access new US technologies.
The recent move by Surbana Jurong to invest US$9.25 million (S$12.4 million) in Flux Factory - a San Francisco-based software company that was spun off from Google X, a development lab by Google - is an example of the sort of deal the new collaboration hopes to facilitate.
The MoU was signed by Mr Luke Goh, Deputy Secretary (Trade), Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Mr Arun Kumar, Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service and Assistant Secretary for Global Markets, US Department of Commerce, on the sidelines of PM Lee Hsien Loong's official visit to Washington.
Mr Lee Ark Boon, CEO of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore - the implementing agency for the MoU - said the agreement would unlock new opportunities for both countries.
"Singapore and the US are recognised role models in their respective regions when it comes to planning and developing infrastructure. This MOU paves the way for us to exchange best practices and technologies, thereby unlocking new opportunities and value for companies from both our countries," he said.
The agreement also further cements the strong bilateral economic relationship between the US and Singapore. In 2014, Singapore was the single largest Asean investor in the US, with investments valued at S$12.2 billion.
PM Lee is in the United States for an official visit and will be hosted to a state dinner by US President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday (Wednesday morning Singapore time).
On Monday, he was received with an enhanced honour cordon at the Pentagon. as he arrived for a meeting with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter.
The honour cordon, which includes a guard of honour and a US military band playing the national anthem of the visiting country, is reserved for America's closest allies.
Mr Lee also earlier laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony there started with 19-gun salute.
Mr Lee also had a meeting with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and will be meeting Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. He will also be speaking at a reception organised by the US Chamber.
On Sunday evening, Mr and Mrs Lee celebrated an early National Day with more than 500 Singaporeans at the Singapore embassy in Washington, DC.
Accompanying PM Lee are Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, and Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung.
Three MPs are also in the delegation: Mr Christopher de Souza, Ms Rahayu Mahzam and Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong.