Press Remarks by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Federal Chancellery Of Germany, Berlin, on 6 July 2017.
Chancellor Merkel, ladies and gentlemen, very happy to back in Germany and in Berlin again at the Chancellor’s invitation. I was first the Chancellor’s guest here very soon after she took over as Chancellor back in 2005. I am here again in order to continue the discussions we have had between Singapore and Germany, and take our relationship another step forward. The Chancellor is a good friend. I greatly value her advice, friendship and insights.
Germany and Singapore enjoy a very close partnership. We have broad and deep collaboration. The Chancellor spoke about some of these just now and most importantly, we are like-minded on many important issues with a shared strategic outlook. We are both strongly committed to an open international trading system, the rule of law and sustainable development. We are very happy that our cooperation has strengthened since my last visit here which was in 2015, on the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.
Our investment and trade ties are strong. Germany is our largest trading partner in the European Union (EU) and Singapore is Germany’s largest trading partner in ASEAN. Singapore companies are investing in Germany, for example, in aerospace and hospitality. Many German companies are in Singapore. In fact, there are 1,600 of them including major German corporations and many Mittelstand, which are expanding in Singapore and using Singapore as an innovation hub for advanced manufacturing and digitalisation sectors as the Chancellor mentioned. Next week, I will be visiting Munich after the G20 meeting and I look forward to launching Siemens’ Singapore Digitalisation Hub which is the first of its kind globally, which is going to be doing research work and development work, and applications of digitalisation and Internet of Things.
We greatly appreciate Germany’s support for the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA). It will bring significant benefits to Singapore, to Germany and in fact, to the whole of EU and signal clearly our support for international trade. It will also be a pathfinder for an EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, and help draw Europe and Southeast Asia closer together. I hope the EU-Singapore FTA will come into force soon. There is a process. There has been a ruling from the European court and now I think the path is clear for the process to be completed.
Singapore and Germany are embarking on new areas of cooperation like cyber security, research and development for Industrie 4.0 and smart nations, FinTech cooperation, even in sports. I am very glad that our Cyber Security Agency and Germany’s Federal Foreign Office are signing a Joint Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation.
We also cooperate closely on defence and security, and are grateful to Germany for hosting training by the Singapore Armed Forces. We are working on an enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement and we look forward to stepping up defence cooperation in many areas of mutual interest.
I would also like to thank Chancellor Merkel for inviting me to the G20. There are many urgent issues on the table: climate change, terrorism, cyber security, income inequality. There are many different perspectives and views on how to deal with this. But Singapore hopes to contribute our perspectives and ideas, and work with Germany and other countries to push forward the G20 agenda. And that way, we hope we can promote stronger engagement between G20 and the wider United Nations membership through the Global Governance Group, of which Singapore is a member.
I look forward to participating in the G20 Summit in Hamburg, and most of all, with spending time with the Chancellor today.
Thank you very much.
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