Singapore and Vietnam signed 5 agreements, MOUs across defence, trade and social sectors

Singapore and Vietnam signed five agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) on Friday (Feb 25), aimed at strengthening cooperation in defence, the digital economy and intellectual property among other areas.

 

The signing by ministers and senior officials from both countries was witnessed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Mr Phuc is on a three-day visit to Singapore from Feb 24 to 26 – marking the first state visit Singapore has received since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. The bilateral agreements will “further strengthen the multifaceted cooperation between Singapore and Vietnam”, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).


STRENGTHENING DEFENCE TIES

The two countries renewed the bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA), building on the first DCA that was signed in 2009. Under the renewed DCA, both sides commit to conducting regular policy dialogues and exchanges; enhancing cooperation and promoting closer interaction between both countries’ armies; and cooperating in areas of “mutual interest” such as military medicine and counter-terrorism. Singapore’s Ministry of Defence said the signing reaffirms both defence establishments’ mutual commitment to “further enhance their defence relationship through close cooperation and to contribute to the peace and stability of the region”.


COOPERATION IN TRADE, DIGITAL ECONOMY

An MOU on economic and trade cooperation was also signed, covering areas such as supporting regional and global supply chain connectivity and facilitating business partnerships, said Singapore's Trade and Industry Ministry (MTI). It will also deepen agri-trade cooperation, such as by supporting information sharing and training on best practices, certification and standards in the agriculture industry. In addition, the MOU aims to enhance cooperation in the industrial and energy sectors, while facilitating greater collaboration between Singaporean and Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises. Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said: “We look forward to catalysing greater trade and economic collaboration, including in new and emerging areas of interest such as renewable and clean energy. “We will also enhance our resilience by building a more robust supply chain and facilitating smooth and continued trade flows between both countries even in times of crises.”


Singapore Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng (second from right) and Vietnam Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien (second from left) pose at the Istana in Singapore on Feb 25, 2022, after signing a memorandum of understanding as Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong look on. (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information)

On the sidelines of the state visit, 28 business MOUs were signed between Vietnam’s provinces and businesses with their counterparts.


Meanwhile, another MOU was signed between the communications and information ministries of both countries for cooperation in the digital economy. The MOU will operationalise a joint working group to implement digital economy collaborations, with the goal of “fostering bilateral and regional digital connectivity and interoperability”, said both countries in a joint statement. “Such collaboration will support the growth of digital businesses and investments in innovation and technology, and improve mutual access to the broader ASEAN market and beyond.”


INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

In addition, both sides signed an implementation work plan on intellectual property for FY2022 to FY2024, stemming from a memorandum signed in 2014. The cooperation will include exchanges in areas such as IP training and commercialisation. It will also lay the ground for more discussions to finalise details on the proposed launch of a pilot Collaborative Search and Examination (CS&E) programme. The programme will foster exchanges of best practices between both sides’ intellectual property offices, among other initiatives. “This pilot programme will further enhance connectivity and facilitate the entry of innovative products and services into our two countries,” said both countries.


SOCIAL SECTOR

Finally, an MOU promoting cooperation between Singapore’s People’s Association and the Vietnam Fatherland Front was renewed. This involves a “mutually beneficial exchange programme”, allowing both sides to exchange experiences “in promoting social cohesion and community building”, said MFA. It will also allow them to exchange “ideas on ways to better connect the people and the Government”.