Transcript of speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Official Opening of Enterprise Singapore's San Francisco Overseas Centre on 14 November 2023. PM Lee was on a working visit to San Francisco, California, United States of America from 13 to 18 November 2023.
Mr Lee Chuan Teck, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise SG, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
I am delighted to be here to witness the launch of Enterprise Singapore’s San Francisco Overseas Centre. I would like to say thank you to our American friends and particularly to the city of San Francisco for hosting us at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit which is about to start tomorrow evening.
Bilateral and Regional Cooperation
The US and Singapore are old friends. We enjoy strong economic ties built up over many decades. We cooperate extensively in business, trade, and innovation. The US is one of Singapore’s most important economic partners. Singapore is the third largest Asian investor in the US, and the US is our largest foreign investor. Our investments in each other, altogether, support over a quarter million American jobs.
Next year, our two countries will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the US – Singapore Free Trade Agreement. Over these two decades, we have deepened our relationship in new and forward-looking domains, such as climate change, cybersecurity, space, and critical and emerging technologies.
The US for its part has deepened its engagement with the region, with the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which Singapore is a member of.
Today, amidst a more complex global environment, strategic and security concerns are increasingly overriding free trade and considerations of economic welfare. But we are hopeful that despite this trend, America will maintain and even strengthen its relationship with Asia and the rest of the world. Because countries, even big countries, still need to do business and trade with one another, not just for our collective prosperity, but also because trade is an important facet of international cooperation and peace. And for small economies like Singapore, small and open, we have no choice but to push ahead with doing business with the world. We also hope for major economies, like the US, which play an anchor role in so many situations around the world, to be deeply engaged with the world, influencing it, cooperating with it, and benefiting from it.
Driving Collaboration in Trade and Innovation
That is why Singapore continues to do our best to advance our cooperation – to encourage our companies to be present here in America, as well as to invite American companies to invest in Singapore.
Many Singaporean companies are partnering their American counterparts across sectors such as biomedical, food manufacturing, transportation, and much more.
Here in the Bay Area, we have been nurturing such relationships for many years. It has been an important region for promising Singaporean startups to meet strategic partners, and gain backing that can elevate our companies onto the global stage. We enjoy a good level of cooperation today, but I am quite confident it can be even better.
Enterprise Singapore is one of many front offices that enhance our cooperation, helping Singaporean companies establish a foothold in the US. The launch of the San Francisco Overseas Centre today marks a step up in our engagement on the West Coast. Enterprise Singapore will keep looking for new areas of cooperation, to continue to broaden and deepen our bilateral relationship.
For our American friends seeking opportunities in Singapore, or in the vibrant and growing Asia-Pacific region, our message to you is this: Singapore is wide open for business. Enterprise Singapore, and our other agencies like the Economic Development Board, will be more than happy to work with you and to make it happen.
Congratulations to Enterprise Singapore on the opening of the centre. We deeply appreciate the US Government and California State Government’s strong support for this endeavour, and the Lieutenant Governor’s presence here today to help us open this place, and to partner us to showcase opportunities for collaboration with Singapore companies.
I wish all the guests an interesting and productive evening. Thank you very much.
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