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Singapore, Thailand Strengthen Economic Ties

Image credits: sgpc.gov.sg

Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, co-chaired the 6th Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Economic Relationship (STEER) Ministerial Meeting (MM), alongside Thailand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit.

“I am heartened to reaffirm the strong and close bilateral economic relations between Singapore and Thailand. The good progress we made at the sixth Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Economic Relationship Ministerial Meeting will propel our friendship to greater heights and benefit Singapore businesses looking to explore the Thailand market, and vice versa,” says Second Minister Tan.

Both Ministers reaffirmed during the STEER MM their shared commitment to strengthening bilateral ties in several areas, including facilitation of trade and investment, cooperation in the aviation and tourism sectors, as well as more recent ones like the digital economy, innovation, and sustainability.

To create a clear path for bilateral activities to promote cruise tourism between Singapore and Thailand, Second Minister Tan and DPM Jurin decided to hasten the formation of the Cruise Tourism Task Force.

The Ministers decided to have the Task Force’s Terms of Reference (ToR) worked on by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) and Singapore Tourism Board, with a goal of having the teams from both countries’ rosters finalised by December 2022.

Moreover, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) of Thailand also signed a Government-to-Government Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) and Implementation Workplan 2022–2024.

Discussions of cooperating on carbon credits in line with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement made good progress during the summit. By the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-28) the following year, the Ministers agreed to work on creating an Implementation Agreement and identifying possible carbon credit projects for collaboration.

An MoC and four Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between Singapore and Thailand entities were signed alongside the 6th STEER MM in the presence of Second Minister Tan and DPM Jurin. These things are:

  1. MoU between IPOS and DIP, in which both offices look forward to deepening cooperation in a variety of areas, including the establishment of a pilot bilateral Collaborative Search and Examination (S&E) programme to assist entrepreneurs and innovators in Thailand and Singapore in seeking faster IP protection in the region.
  2. MoU between the Meat Traders Association of Singapore (MTA) and the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association (TBA) to develop project cooperation on chilled and frozen poultry meat and further processed products, as well as to enable trade and flexible import laws.
  3. MoU between MTA and the Thai Swine Producers and Processors for Exporting Association (SPEA) to enhance project cooperation on chilled and frozen pork, as well as extend sourcing networks and boost product quality.
  4. MoU on environmental disclosure, compliance reporting, NetZero roadmap development, and carbon credit verification; and
  5. MoU to explore the two-wheeler electric vehicle and motorcycle industry, as well as associated potential.

In 2021, Thailand was Singapore’s ninth-largest trading partner. In 2021, bilateral commerce between Singapore and Thailand was S$34.1 billion, an increase of 3.6% from 2020. The bilateral trade between January and June of 2022 exceeded S$21.6 billion, an increase of 31.9% from January to June 2021.

In 2021, Singapore’s exports to Thailand increased by 7.7% to S$21.0 billion, while imports from Thailand declined by 2.5% to S$13.2 billion. Singapore was also Thailand’s greatest foreign investor in 2020, at S$1.8 billion. End-2020 Singaporean Direct investments in Thailand amounted to S$24.9 billion. Most of Singapore’s investments are in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial and insurance services, and real estate.

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