Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong,
Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Dr Robert Habeck,
Co-Chair of the APK, Mr Roland Busch,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Good evening. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Singapore Evening.
2. This year’s APK Conference is a special one, being the first edition to be held in person in four years.
3. I would like to thank the Asia Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) for choosing to host the conference in Singapore this year. I would also like to thank our Singapore agencies EnterpriseSG, EDB, and STB for organising the Singapore Evening.
4. I was glad to visit Munich and Berlin in June this year and had the opportunity to meet Vice-Chancellor Habeck.
5. We had a good exchange on many topics, and noted the close relationship between Singapore and Germany. His presence in Singapore in conjunction with the APK, as well as Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit tomorrow, are a further reaffirmation of our close ties between our two countries.
6. Germany is one of Singapore’s largest trade and investment partners in the EU. A cornerstone of our long-standing cooperation is the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA), which entered into force in 2019. The EUSFTA provides much-needed clarity and certainty for our businesses amidst the many challenges facing global supply chains today, and sends a strong signal of the EU and Singapore’s commitment to uphold an open and rules-based trading system.
Singapore as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific
7. The Asia-Pacific region encompasses some of the world’s fastest growing economies. At the same time, many countries in the region are at the cusp of a digital and green transformation – and this opens significant opportunities for global businesses.
8. Singapore has served as a regional launchpad for German businesses over the years. There are over 2,000 German companies in Singapore, in a wide range of sectors including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronics, automotives, and logistics. Many have chosen to establish their regional / Asia-Pacific headquarters here.
9. We are heartened by your interest and investments in Singapore, and will continue to engage and support German as well as European companies who seek to use Singapore as a regional hub to grow their business in the Asia-Pacific. Through initiatives such as the Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific trade show, which is the Asia-Pacific edition of the Hannover Messe, we bring together leading manufacturers, technology providers, and pioneers in emerging industry areas to catalyse partnerships.
Digital and Green Economies
10. The 17th APK held in Singapore has also generated renewed impetus for collaborations. For example, EnterpriseSG and NRW.Global Business, the trade and investment agency of North Rhine-Westphalia, will be developing a joint workplan for business cooperation in sectors of mutual interest, such as renewable energy, green technologies, industry 4.0 and ICT. There are two areas where we can deepen our collaboration.
11. The first is the digital economy. In Southeast Asia, the digital economy is projected to grow to US$1 trillion by the end of the decade. Singapore is an early mover in connecting and growing digital economies with like-minded partners. We have established Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs) with several countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Chile, United Kingdom and South Korea. These agreements establish digital trade rules, and enable mutual recognition of standards for interoperability in digital trade.
12. Our ongoing collaboration with the EU to develop the EU-Singapore Digital Partnership will add an important digital dimension to our economic ties.
13. The second area is sustainability. As the need for climate action becomes more pressing, countries around the world are taking steps to reduce carbon emissions while growing their green economies.
14. We recently signed our first Green Economy Agreement with Australia. Such collaborations , we believe, will play an important role in reducing non-tariff barriers to trade in green goods and services, and enable cross-border investments in low-carbon technologies.
15. The Germany-Singapore Framework for Sustainability and Innovation, which we will be signing later this evening, will deepen cooperation between our two countries on sustainability and green growth. The hydrogen economy is one important decarbonisation pathway where we can work together.
16. To conclude, Singapore and Germany’s excellent relationship is based on close collaboration for mutual benefit in areas of traditional strength, as well new and emerging opportunities. We look forward to building on this solid foundation to create new and exciting possibilities for our enterprises and our people.
17. I wish you pleasant evening and a productive visit to Singapore.