UK Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden’s working visit to Singapore strengthens bilateral ties, focusing on trade, digital cooperation, and emerging technologies.
Oliver Dowden, the Deputy Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Secretary of State in the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom, embarked on a working visit to Singapore from 27 to 29 June 2023. During his stay, Dowden held meetings with several high-ranking Singaporean officials, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, and Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo.
The meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Dowden and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana was marked by a reaffirmation of the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries. They acknowledged the extensive cooperation that has developed over the centuries, covering areas such as trade, finance, defense, education, and the emerging digital and green economies. Both leaders emphasized the importance of recent agreements, such as the UK-Singapore FTA, Digital Economy Agreement, and Green Economy Framework. They also agreed to commence negotiations on a new Bilateral Investment Treaty, and the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was substantively concluded.
Deputy Prime Minister Dowden’s meeting with Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, focused on strengthening economic resilience and security in the face of global uncertainties. Both leaders recognized the potential for collaboration in pushing the boundaries of innovation through new technologies and managing the risks associated with technological changes. The aim is to deepen bilateral cooperation between Singapore and the UK.
In a meeting with Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Dowden discussed mutual interests in the digital economy and cybersecurity. They explored opportunities for Singapore and the UK to collaborate on establishing international norms in emerging areas like artificial intelligence and quantum technology. Singapore welcomed the UK’s interest in deepening engagement with the country and the ASEAN region.
Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, welcomed Deputy Prime Minister Dowden’s visit, noting the progress made since their previous meeting at the Tallinn Digital Summit in 2021. The two countries have significantly advanced their digital relations, with several MOUs signed and implemented under the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement. The recent signing of additional MOUs further strengthens data cooperation and emerging technologies between the two nations. Minister Teo highlighted the strategic alignment between Singapore and the UK on various issues related to the digital economy and emerging technologies. The collaboration aims to bring tangible benefits to businesses and people in both countries.
The visit of Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden to Singapore signifies the enduring and multi-faceted relationship between the UK and Singapore. The discussions and agreements reached during his meetings with Singaporean officials highlight the commitment to deepening cooperation in various fields, particularly in the areas of trade, finance, digitalization, and emerging technologies. The visit sets the stage for continued collaboration and the opening of new doors for future collaborations between the two nations.