SM Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s visit to London, United Kingdom (June 2019)

SM Tharman Shanmugaratnam | 14 June 2019

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, visited London, United Kingdom from 9 to 13 June 2019.


Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was in London, the United Kingdom (UK), from 9 to 13 June 2019. Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung and Senior Parliamentary Secretary (SPS) for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry Dr Tan Wu Meng visited London in the same week. The visit reaffirmed the strong and multi-faceted relationship between Singapore and the UK, and kept up the momentum of our ties following the launch of the Singapore-UK Partnership for the Future (P4F) in January 2019.

During the visit, several bilateral agreements were signed in addition to the announcement of several key developments in bilateral cooperation. These were:

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Digital Government Services – The Government Technology Agency of Singapore and the Government Digital Service of UK will share knowledge and best practices in the design and delivery of digital government public services, and the adoption of open standards for government information, data, and software.

MOU for Cooperation in the Enforcement of Laws Protecting Personal Data – Under the MOU, Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office will engage in various activities such as cross-sharing of experiences and joint research projects on regulatory approaches.

MOU on financial cooperation – The MOU between the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the City of London Corporation covers key areas of financial cooperation such as skills, data, and green finance.

Partnership arrangement for collaboration on Green Finance – MAS and the City of London’s Green Finance Initiative will explore areas to further promote green investment opportunities.

Declaration of intent on skills collaboration – The Declaration between Singapore’s Institute of Banking and Finance and the UK’s Chartered Body Alliance covers skills collaboration for professionals in the banking, finance, and insurance sectors.

Intellectual Property (IP) Insurance Initiative – This partnership between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and Antares introduces specialised and innovative IP insurance products from June 2019.

Frequent Traveller Programme (FTP) for UK passport holders – The Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority launched the FTP to UK passport holders on 13 June 2019.

New Partnership under the EUREKA GlobalStars Programme –This partnership between Enterprise Singapore, the UK, and the Netherlands aims to strengthen collaboration in business and innovation between enterprises from Singapore and EUREKA’s participating countries.

(Refer to Annex for full list of announcements and agreements)

Senior Minister Tharman had meetings on 13 June with Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Lidington, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell. The discussions at the meetings focused on ways to create new opportunities for cooperation under the Singapore-UK P4F, including through the agreements signed during the visit. Senior Minister Tharman also had a useful exchange of views with his interlocutors on domestic policy responses to the challenges faced by both countries.

On 13 June, Senior Minister Tharman, Minister Ong, and SPS Tan each spoke at the City of London Corporation’s UK-Singapore Business Summit. Senior Minister Tharman gave the opening address on Singapore’s future relationships with the UK, while Minister Ong delivered the keynote address on how both countries are deepening partnerships in specific areas in a changing global environment. SPS Tan participated in a panel discussion on Singapore-UK collaborations, including new areas of cooperation in an increasingly digitalised global economy.

Senior Minister Tharman was later conferred the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of his contributions to strengthening ties between Singapore and the City and to global financial governance. Senior Minister Tharman said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled to be granted the Freedom of the City of London. The award in fact reflects the longstanding and active partnership between Singapore and the City of London, and is to the credit of my colleagues at the MAS and our partners in Singapore industry, as well as our official counterparts and partners in the City of London. We have worked to build new relationships at an uncertain time and to contribute to stronger global standards in many areas. I am quite sure our ties will grow and flourish in the coming years.”

On 12 June, Senior Minister Tharman delivered the keynote address at the Institute for Government’s 10 th Anniversary Conference. Entitled “Making the Centre Hold: What Works?”, Senior Minister Tharman’s speech dealt with the need to invest in social foundations for economic dynamism so as to counter the decline in trust and widening divergences within many societies. He spoke about the key policy priorities for the centre of politics – in growing opportunities throughout life and strengthening social mobility; developing socially integrated neighbourhoods and rejuvenating depressed regions; enabling ageing with dignity and purpose; and ensuring fairness to the next generation.

Senior Minister Tharman and Lord Mayor of the City of London Peter Estlin later opened Singapore Tourism Board’s three-day festival, “Singapore: Where Explorers Meet”.

Senior Minister Tharman and SPS Tan had earlier met UK Parliamentarians from both Houses of Parliament on 11 June, where they discussed topics such as bilateral relations, regional developments, and higher education reforms.

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14 JUNE 2019








Announcement of Intellectual Property (IP) Insurance Initiative for Innovators by Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and Antares (underwriter at Lloyd’s)


IPOS has partnered with Lloyd’s Asia (subsidiary of UK insurance company Lloyd’s of London) to introduce specialised and innovative IP insurance products in a global economy increasingly driven by the flow of ideas and knowledge.


Starting from June 2019, IPOS and Lloyd’s will launch the “IP Insurance Initiative for Innovators by IPOS and Antares” (underwriter at Lloyd’s) to accelerate the introduction of an IP legal expenses insurance product to innovators in Singapore.


IPOS and Lloyd’s digital platforms will be enhanced to actively push out the initiative and incentivise innovators to tap on the partnership to better protect their R&D investments and commercialisation.


As a pilot, innovators will enjoy substantial savings (for a limited period) offered by Lloyd’s syndicate Antares (another UK company) to capitalise on this new and innovative type of insurance coverage as they expand into overseas markets. This Initiative marks a win-win for UK enterprises and Singapore innovators and brand owners.



Announcement of Frequent Traveller Programme (FTP) for UK passport holders

ICA will open the FTP to UK passport holders on 13 June 2019. The UK had earlier announced in May 2019 that Singapore passport holders would be able to use UK e-gates.



Announcement of Partnership between Enterprise Singapore, the UK and the Netherlands under the EUREKA GlobalStars[1] Programme.


[1] EUREKA is a publicly-funded intergovernmental network, involving over 40 countries. EUREKA’s aim is to enhance European competitiveness by fostering innovation-driven entrepreneurship in Europe, between small and large industry, research institutes and universities. The GlobalStars programme aims to facilitate international R&D and innovation cooperation between EUREKA countries, associated countries and non-EUREKA partner countries.


Partnership between Enterprise Singapore and EUREKA GlobalStars to strengthen collaboration in business and innovation between Singapore enterprises and enterprises from EUREKA participating countries.


Singapore, the UK, the Netherlands and EUREKA participating countries to be identified, will open a joint call for projects in various sectors includingMedical Technology, Smart Mobility and Transportation, as well as Advanced Manufacturing. Enterprise Singapore and the partner countries will provide funding support for jointly selected projects. This aims to help Singapore enterprises enhance their capabilities and innovation efforts.





Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by The Government Technology Agency (GovTech) of the Republic of Singapore and The Government Digital Service (GDS) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the area of Digital Government


GovTech and GDS signed an MOU to strengthen collaboration in the design and delivery of digital government public services.


Under the MoU, GovTech and GDS will mutually share knowledge and best practices in improving the delivery of digital public services, building digital skills and capabilities of Government officials, and adopting open standards for government information, data and software.



Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of the Republic of Singapore and the Information Commissioner (ICO) for the United Kingdom (UK) for Cooperation in the Enforcement of Laws Protecting Personal Data


MOU to foster closer collaboration and strengthen cooperation in personal data protection in the two jurisdictions.The MOU sets outthe PDPC and ICO’s commitmentto strengthen cooperation on personal data matters.


Over the next 12 months the two regulatory bodies will collaborate and exchange learnings on developing Accountability and AI governance tools. Sharingbest practices on Guidance development; Cross border regulatory sandboxes; andjoint research projects.



Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between MAS and City of London Corporation on key areas of financial cooperation


This MOU signifies both parties’ intention to cooperate in facilitating data flows, enhancing cross-border “know-your-customer” processes, developing skills and competencies in the financial sector, and promoting green finance.


Declaration of Intent between Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF) and the Chartered Body Alliance (CBA)* to deepen collaboration in skills development for banking, capital market and insurance professionals


* The CBA comprises the Chartered Banking Institute (CBI), the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).


The collaboration includes sharing best practices and innovations in the development and delivery of training programmes, and facilitating mutual recognition of professional standards and certifications.


Partnership Agreement between the UK’s Green Finance Initiative and MAS


The Partnership Agreement will promote and apply principles of green and sustainable finance within the financial systems of Singapore and the UK. It seeks to harmonise standards, enhance environmental and climate risk disclosures, and strengthen green finance collaboration in the international environment.



Joint press release by MAS and the Bank of England (BoE) on collaboration on cyber security


MAS, BoE, and the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a collaboration to strengthen cyber security in their financial sectors. This will involve parties identifying effective ways to share information and exploring potential for staff exchanges. The parties will commence work towards a Memorandum of Understanding to signify this enhanced collaboration.


Foreign affairs