London: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has agreed a new strategic partnership with Singapore during a meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the margins of the G20 Summit in New Delhi on Saturday.
Following the new UK-Singapore Strategic Partnership, Downing Street said both countries will work to conclude a “new and modern” bilateral investment treaty – the first the UK has negotiated since Brexit.
The pact is expected to give Singaporean companies more confidence to invest in the UK and vice-versa, creating jobs and growth for both economies.
“This new agreement with Singapore will take us even further in delivering our priorities and ensure that, as we map the future of the world economy, we are doing so alongside our closest partners,” said Sunak in a statement from Delhi.
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“As Prime Minister, I’ve put the interests of the British people front and centre of my international engagement. I am ensuring that diplomacy delivers. You have already seen that through deals that will stop illegal migration, make our economy more secure and increase trade with our international partners,” he said.
Downing Street pointed out that the UK has forged a number of new bilateral and multilateral partnerships since Sunak took charge as Prime Minister, with an FTA with India still some way to go after 12 rounds of negotiations.
“We are in the process of negotiating further free trade agreements (FTAs), including a deal with India which would be the first the country has signed with a European country,” it said.
In addition to enhanced economic cooperation, the new UK-Singapore Strategic Partnership is expected to strengthen security cooperation, science and technology innovation, and research and development.
This includes collaboration to counter new and emerging threats in domains like cyber, through a first-of-its-kind partnership between Singapore’s new Digital and Intelligence Service and the UK, Downing Street said.
According to official data, the UK-Singapore trade relationship is worth 21 billion pounds, accounting for 40 per cent of Britain’s total trade with Southeast Asia, and Singaporean entities have a total of 226 billion pounds invested in the UK.
Sunak arrived in New Delhi on Friday for the G20 Leaders’ Summit and started the three-day visit with an interaction with British Council students and staff with wife Akshata Murty ahead of the first set of official multilateral discussions taking place on Saturday.
“15 years ago, G20 leaders came together for the first time to restore global growth after the financial crisis. We meet at a time of enormous challenges – the world is looking to the G20 once again to provide leadership. Together I believe we can address these challenges,” he tweeted from the summit.