Singapore-US deal to help companies work together in third-party markets

The Straits Times/ANN

Luke Goh (left), MTI’s Deputy Secretary (Trade), and Arun Kumar, Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service and Assistant Secretary for Global Markets. A MOU was signed to set up the Singapore-US Collaboration Platform.: (The Straits Times/Alphonsus Chern)

Singapore and the United States are setting up a platform to help companies from both countries work together to pursue opportunities in third-party markets.

A memorandum of understanding signed in Washington on Monday (Tuesday morning Singapore time) establishes a Singapore-US Collaboration platform meant to help both sides leverage on the strengths of the other. American firms will be able to take advantage of Singapore’s position as a gateway to South-east Asia while Singapore companies will be able to tap on US networks as well as access new US technologies.

The recent move by Surbana Jurong to invest US$9.25 million (S$12.4 million) in Flux Factory – a San Francisco-based software company that was spun off from Google X, a development lab by Google – is an example of the sort of deal the new collaboration hopes to facilitate.

The MoU was signed by Luke Goh, Deputy Secretary (Trade), Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Arun Kumar, Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service and Assistant Secretary for Global Markets, US Department of Commerce, on the sidelines of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s official visit to Washington.

Lee Ark Boon, CEO of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore – the implementing agency for the MoU – said the agreement would unlock new opportunities for both countries.

“Singapore and the US are recognized role models in their respective regions when it comes to planning and developing infrastructure. This MOU paves the way for us to exchange best practices and technologies, thereby unlocking new opportunities and value for companies from both our countries,” he said.

The agreement also further cements the strong bilateral economic relationship between the US and Singapore. In 2014, Singapore was the single largest ASEAN investor in the US, with investments valued at S$12.2 billion.

PM Lee is in the United States for an official visit and will be hosted to a state dinner by US President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday (Wednesday morning Singapore time).

On Monday, he was received with an enhanced honor cordon at the Pentagon as he arrived for a meeting with US Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

The honor cordon, which includes a guard of honor and a US military band playing the national anthem of the visiting country, is reserved for America’s closest allies.

Lee also earlier laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony there started with 19-gun salute.

Lee also had a meeting with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and will be meeting Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. He will also be speaking at a reception organized by the US Chamber.


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