In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Ambassador Catherine Wong said Singapore and Vietnam share longstanding and multi-faceted ties, with substantive cooperation in many areas. The anchor for this strong relationship is close personal ties that Singaporean and Vietnamese leaders share, which are maintained through regular exchanges of high-level visits as well as frequent meetings at multilateral fora.
In this context, PM Lee Hsien Loong is making an official visit to Vietnam from March 21-24 to reaffirm the strong ties between the two countries. During his visit, PM Lee Hsien Loong will meet several Vietnamese leaders, including Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Tran Dai Quang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, to discuss ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation that is underpinned by the Strategic Partnership concluded during PM Lee Hsien Loong’s last official visit to Vietnam in September 2013, she stressed.
According to the ambassador, robust economic ties are a key pillar of bilateral relations. Singapore is the third largest foreign investor in Vietnam with registered cumulative investments of approximately US$39 billion in about 1,800 projects. Bilateral trade amounted to US$19.8 billion in 2016. Singapore is Vietnam’s 6th largest trading partner, while Vietnam is Singapore’s 12th largest trading partner.
Seven Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs) across Vietnam are strong symbols of close economic ties between the two countries. On the whole, Singapore businesses recognise Vietnam’s growth potential with its young population, vibrant workforce and rising middle class, and are actively looking for opportunities to expand or set up their operations here in areas such as manufacturing, retail, banking and e-commerce.
The diplomat went on to say that trade and investment are only one of many areas in which Singapore and Vietnam share substantive cooperation. The people-to-people ties between Singapore and Vietnam have also flourished with greater connectivity, tourist and business links between the two countries.
More than 17,000 Vietnamese officials have participated in training programmes under the Singapore Cooperation Programme. The two nations’ tourism flows have also increased steadily with more flights. There are currently 144 flights between Singapore and Vietnam each week, making it convenient for us to visit each other. There is scope for both sides to further expand air connectivity to facilitate even greater business and tourist flows.