Singapore and Philippines moving to boost economic ties

President Tan and President Duterte toasting last night at a banquet in honour of the visiting Philippine leader. Dr Tan said Singapore companies are keen to invest in the Philippines.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Singapore and the Philippines are taking steps to boost economic co-operation, with local companies encouraged to venture beyond its capital, Manila.

Cities such as Davao and Cebu are among prospective places they are urged to consider by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the agency that promotes international trade and partners Singapore companies in going global.

IE Singapore is also devoting more resources to step up its presence in the Philippines next year, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said yesterday. He was speaking at a banquet in the Istana in honour of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is on a two-day state visit to Singapore.

Dr Tan said Singapore companies are keen to invest in the Philippines, one of Asia's fastest-growing economies.

Despite its small size, Singapore is the Philippines' fourth-largest trading partner, after giants the United States, China and Japan.

Singapore companies can contribute to the Philippines' development of quality infrastructure, urban planning and information and communications technology services, he said, citing SIA Engineering and Singtel, both of which have operations in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte's official visit to Singapore

  • Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte poses for selfies with Filipinos living in Singapore after an orchid naming ceremony at Singapore Botanic Gardens.
  • Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte arrives for an orchid naming ceremony at Singapore Botanic Gardens.
  • The Dendrobium Rodrigo Roa Duterte, a hybrid orchid named after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, at an orchid naming ceremony at Singapore Botanic Gardens.
  • ilippines President Rodrigo Duterte poses with the Dendrobium Rodrigo Roa Duterte, a hybrid orchid named after him, during an orchid naming ceremony at Singapore Botanic Gardens.
  • Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte looks at the Dendrobium Rodrigo Roa Duterte, a hybrid orchid named after him.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong receiving His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of The Republic Of The Philippines on 16 December 2016.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of The Republic Of The Philippines at lunch hosted by PM Lee on 16 December 2016.
  • Group photo at lunch hosted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of The Republic Of The Philippines on 16 December 2016.
  • Mr Bernard Carpio, 40, took time off from work and came here with his wife and two children to show his support for President Duterte.
  • Event volunteers taking a group picture with a standee of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
  • Members of the Filipino community arriving at Singapore Expo.
  • State visit to Singapore by President of the Republic of Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Venue: Istana.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is in Singapore for a two-day visit.
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (left) with Singapore President Tony Tan at the welcome ceremony held for the former at the Istana.
  • State visit to Singapore by President of the Republic of Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Venue: Istana.
  • State visit to Singapore by President of the Republic of Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Venue: Istana.
  • State visit to Singapore by President of the Republic of Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Venue: Istana.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) meets with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte at the Istana on 15 December 2016. Mr Duterte is on a two-day state visit to Singapore.
  • State visit to Singapore by President of the Republic of Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Venue: Istana.
  • The Philippine President is on a 2-day visit to Singapore.
  • Mr Duterte's visit to Singapore is his first since he took office in June.
  • Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte inspects an honour guard with Singapore's President Tony Tan at the Istana in Singapore on December 15, 2016.
  • Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte prepares to inspect an honour guard with Singapore's President Tony Tan at the Istana on December 15, 2016.
  • Mr Duterte inspects an honour guard in a welcome ceremony for him at the Istana.
  • After the welcome ceremony, Dr Tan will host a State Banquet in honour of his Philippine counterpart.
  • On Dec 16, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will host Mr Duterte to lunch.
  • During his visit, the Philippine President will also meet Singapore business leaders and have an orchid named in his honour at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

President Duterte said in his speech that the two nations are further intensifying two-way trade and commerce, and expanding opportunities for investments to flourish.

"Indeed we have done much, and we can do more," he said.

He and his Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez will meet Singapore business leaders today.

Read also: Philippines' President Duterte to 'be on best behaviour' in Singapore

President Duterte said: "I came to Singapore with a singular purpose - to renew and reaffirm the friendship and co-operation between our nations and people."

Earlier yesterday, he received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana and called on Dr Tan, who highlighted that both countries should explore ways to enhance connectivity to boost business links and promote tourism growth.

A Foreign Ministry statement said both leaders also agreed that there was room to further broaden and deepen ties, including strengthening security co-operation.

It also said Mr Duterte met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and both agreed ASEAN should work together to deal with transboundary challenges such as human and drug trafficking, and terrorism. The Philippines is chairman of ASEAN next year.

In a Facebook post, PM Lee said they discussed issues such as terrorism, the South China Sea and the US role in the region.


This article was first published on Dec 16, 2016.
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