Speech by Minister S Iswaran at the Business Roundtable organised on the occasion of German President Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to Singapore

Speech by Minister S Iswaran at the Business Roundtable organised on the occasion of German President Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to Singapore

Your Excellency Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the Federal Republic of Germany,


Your Excellency Anja Hajduk, State Secretary of the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action,


Your Excellency Norbert Riedel, German Ambassador to Singapore,


Mr Jens Ruebbert, President of the Singaporean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGC),


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


1. I would like to begin by welcoming President Steinmeier and the German delegation to Singapore; and thank SGC and the German Embassy for bringing together German and Singapore companies through this Roundtable, as well as the companies present for their enthusiastic participation.


2. Germany and Singapore share longstanding and robust bilateral economic relations, and Germany remains one of Singapore’s largest trade and investment partners within the EU.


3. Today, the German business community is already one of the largest European business communities in Singapore, with over 2,000 companies here.


4. Singapore continues to welcome German companies to use Singapore as a launchpad to access opportunities in the region.


a. I am heartened to see Germany’s continued interest in Singapore and the region, which continued to grow during and after the pandemic.


b. There remains a deep well of opportunities in the region for German companies. Southeast Asia’s longer term growth fundamentals remain intact – a young population, growing middle class, and ASEAN expected to be the fourth largest economy by 2030.


c. As a regional business hub, Singapore can be a forward base for German businesses to connect with partners across Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region.


5. I am happy to see that German companies continue to anchor and grow their operations in Singapore, and more are looking to expand their operations in the region with Singapore as a regional base.


6. Looking ahead, there are numerous areas of mutual interest that Singapore and Germany can prioritise our cooperation in.


a. We already share strong cooperation in existing areas such as manufacturing, and we should continue strengthening our collaboration there.


b. I would like to highlight two new and emerging areas – sustainability and the digital economy – that will be of increasing importance to both Singapore and Germany going forward.


7. First, on sustainability. To achieve our shared climate ambitions, we need to focus on the opportunities and constraints brought about by the flows of carbon, as well as promote the adoption and spread of green goods, services, and technology. In particular, Singapore is keen to support industry efforts to develop new green capabilities, such as green financing, carbon services, and low-carbon solutions.


a. One way in which we have been pushing forward on this is through the development of Green Economy Agreements, GEAs.


b. Currently, Singapore is pursuing a bilateral GEA with Australia to establish new rules and standards not found in trade agreements today.


c. The objective of GEAs is to spur green growth and jobs, while scaling up decarbonisation. In this way, we can allow sustainable development and economic growth to go hand in hand, and ensure that environmental protection is upheld even as we achieve economic growth.


8. Second, on digital. We have been actively pursuing our Digital Economy Agreement strategy. This includes the EU-Singapore Digital Partnership that is currently being developed. We are working with the EU towards an EUSDP that is:


a. Ambitious in establishing high standards that would surpass Singapore and the EU’s existing initiatives, such as the G7 Trade Ministers’ Digital Trade Principles and WTO JSI on E-Commerce;


b. Comprehensive in scope, to address the full spectrum of digital issues;


c. Tangible in supporting concrete projects and use cases that would benefit businesses and citizens.


9. I hope that German companies interested in Singapore and the region will continue to make physical visits to Singapore, and vice versa, with the strong resumption of travel internationally.


a. Such visits are valuable opportunities to meet prospective partners and build a closer relationship that would support partnerships in the longer term.


10. I look forward to the sharing on the fruitful discussions you have had earlier today in the first half of the Roundtable. 

Contact Us Feedback