The Prime Minister welcomed President Tan of Singapore to Downing Street this afternoon. The Prime Minister congratulated President Tan on being awarded the King Charles II medal by the Royal Society, and on Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence next year. They proceeded to discuss the top international issues, including the threats posed by ISIL and Ebola, on which the President shared Singapore’s experiences of handling the outbreak of SARS in 2003.
President Tan and the Prime Minister discussed the strong trading relationship between the UK and Singapore and the important role Singapore plays as an economic, cultural, and strategic partner in Asia. The Prime Minister welcomed the conclusion of negotiations of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and looked forward to its implementation next year. The deal could add €550 million to EU GDP and generate export opportunities for UK companies worth £55 million. They also agreed on the substantial difference that science partnerships have made to the bilateral relationship and welcomed the signing of the Innovation and Research Partnership signalling a step change in cooperation on research and innovation activities.
As part of their talks, the Prime Minister and President also agreed a package of measures to support cutting-edge research to help protect against cyber attacks and cyber criminals, building on the UK’s already innovative and broad-based cyber partnership with Singapore. On education, they noted the close relationship the UK and Singapore enjoy, particularly at a university level, and discussed what we can learn from each other as we look to continue to strengthen this relationship further.
As part of a commitment to promote the best of British innovation, creativity and education in Singapore, the PM announced that there will be a GREAT week in Singapore in March 2015, which the Prime Minister and President Tan agreed will ensure links between the two nations remain strong.