The 17th Vietnam – Singapore Connectivity Ministerial Meeting took place in Hanoi on August 27 under the co-chair of Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung and Singaporean Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng.
The event gathered the two countries’ officials related to the five economic cooperation pillars of energy connectivity, sustainable development, infrastructure, digital techniques and innovation, and connectivity (including in such sectors as education, finance, information technology and telecommunications, tourism, investment, trade, services, and transport).
The five pillars are specified in an upgraded connectivity framework agreement expected to be signed during Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s ongoing official visit to Vietnam.
The existing connectivity framework agreement, signed by the two Governments in 2005, is a cooperation programme focusing on finance, education and training, transport, information technology and communications, investment, trade, and services. To explore new potential cooperation areas, the two Governments agreed to expand the deal’s coverage to energy and sustainable development.
In the first 10 months of 2022, bilateral trade reached 7.7 billion USD, up 15.8% year on year. Singapore is currently one of the leading foreign investors in Vietnam, with about 3,030 valid projects worth nearly 70.3 billion USD. Among those projects, the Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs), which cover over 7,000ha of land, attract about 18 billion USD in investment and create more than 312,000 jobs, are considered symbols of the countries’ economic partnerships.
At the meeting, Minister Dung stated that Vietnam pledges to continue improving the investment climate, perfecting the legal system and foreign investment attraction policies, and assisting Singaporean investors.
He suggested the city state transform the VSIPs into ecological ones; boost investment in the key and priority fields of Vietnam such as electronics, big data, high technology, new materials, renewable energy, supporting industries, e-commerce, and smart city building; and help Vietnam develop such industries as textile – garment, wood processing, shipbuilding, industrial infrastructure, chemical production, and petrochemistry.
As education – training and human resources development play an important role supplying high-quality manpower for both countries’ economic development, the official called for Singapore’s assistance in improving Vietnamese cadres’ capacity amid digital transformation.
The Vietnamese side continued asking Singapore to import more farm produce from Vietnam; help with improving the aviation, navigation, road transport, and logistics capacity; coordinate to open new air routes linking Singapore and outstanding destinations in Vietnam; work together to implement trade promotion programmes and introduce Vietnam to major cruise ship operators to develop tourism; and keep sharing experience in terms of education and finance – banking, especially in the building of international financial centres.
At the event, the two sides reviewed the cooperation results obtained since the 16th meeting held in Singapore in December 2022; informed each other about the implementation of the countries’ memorandum of understanding (MoU) on digital economy and green economy, signed last year; discussed orientations for expanding ties in such new areas as energy and sustainable development.
On this occasion, the two ministers witnessed the signing of an MoU on innovation cooperation between the National Innovation Centre of Vietnam and the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre under Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR), along with another on cooperation in training Vietnamese interns in the fields of supply chains and logistics between the Vinh Phuc provincial People’s Committee and the YCH Group Pte. Ltd of Singapore.