Honourable Minister Mary Ng,
Ladies and gentlemen
1. It is my pleasure to join you for Team Canada’s Trade Mission Kick-Off in Singapore.
Singapore-Canada economic relations
2. Singapore and Canada have established a close and warm friendship based on mutual interests. Our bilateral cooperation is long-standing and spans a wide spectrum of areas such as cybersecurity, infrastructure, education, technology and innovation, defence, and people-to-people exchanges.
3. Our growing trade and investment ties reflect the trajectory of the bilateral relationship.
a. As of 2021, Singapore-Canada bilateral merchandise trade had grown to over S$2 billion dollars, led by imports in machinery and equipment, and exports in electronic equipment, scientific and precision instruments, and chemical products.
b. Services trade was also healthy, at almost S$3 billion dollars.
c. Investment flows have similarly strengthened, with Canada currently as the 7th largest source of Foreign Direct Investment to Singapore. Investment stock stood at over S$90 billion in 2021, going largely into the financial and insurance sector, manufacturing, and the wholesale and retail trade sectors.
d. More and more Canadian companies have started operating out of Singapore, growing from around 100 in 2013 to over 1,300 registered today. Like our trade and investment flows, these companies are in a wide range of sectors including banking, aerospace, and electronics manufacturing.
4. In addition, Singapore and Canada cooperate closely at multilateral platforms like the WTO, APEC, and ASEAN, and on regional trade agreements like the CPTPP. We share a commitment to upholding an open and rules-based multilateral trading system, and ensuring a conducive and facilitative environment for our countries and businesses to flourish.
5. Singapore is also working closely with Canada on its accession to the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA). We are glad that Canada’s Accession Working Group (AWG) has been established.
Strengthening economic cooperation
6. Singapore will continue to play our part as a safe and secure regional gateway for Canadian companies. We are committed to business-friendly policies, the availability of a highly skilled workforce, and maintaining our robust and trusted legal and administrative institutions. We will continue to support collaborations between Singapore and Canadian businesses.
a. Let me cite one example. In April 2022, EnterpriseSG co-organised a roundtable focused on Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), with Canada’s Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre. This provided the opportunity for Canadian carbon technology companies to pitch and showcase their products and services to Singaporean companies such as Sembcorp Industries and Keppel Data Centres. It also helped our companies identify possible co-development and research collaborations in technology licensing, as well as sales & distributorship partnership models.
b. Beyond Singapore, the Southeast Asia region presents many opportunities for Canadian companies – Southeast Asia is a region with a combined GDP of US$3.3 trillion, a population of about 700 million, and in aggregate, the fifth largest economy in the world.
c. It holds tremendous potential, with a young and expanding middle class, and with half of the population in Southeast Asia under the age of 35 today. There is also increasing digital connectivity as well as regional efforts for post-pandemic recovery.
d. By 2030, Southeast Asia is projected to become the fourth largest single market.
e. The ASEAN-Canada FTA, when concluded, will also allow Canada to tap into the growth potential of the region.
7. During these turbulent times, it is all the more important for like-minded countries like Singapore and Canada to continue deepening our engagements in trade and investment. The challenges that the world continues to face – from inflation, high energy prices, and supply chain disruptions, to anti-globalisation sentiments and pushback against open markets and traditional trade agreements – can only be effectively addressed by countries working in close collaboration with one another.
8. Singapore will continue to work with Canada and its companies to advance our mutual interests in trade, as an open and trusted business location.
9. I welcome the launch of Team Canada’s Trade Mission, and wish all of you the best, as you explore new partnerships and opportunities in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
10. Thank you.