Singapore, Hungary strengthen economic and research cooperation

Int’l Relations

Singapore and Hungary inked two agreements on Monday to boost trade ties and research collaborations.

The signing ceremony of the Economic Cooperation Agreement and the Master Collaboration Agreement in Budapest was witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Hungarian counterpart Ferenc Gyurcsány. The Economic Cooperation Agreement was signed between Singapore’s Trade and Industry Ministry and its Hungarian counterpart to promote trade. And the Master Collaboration Agreement was inked between A*STAR and Hungary’s National Office for Research and Technology to promote research tie-ups. Under this agreement, a joint committee will be set up to spearhead projects. This paves the way for scientific interaction and an exchange of ideas, which include research attachments and scholarships. Both prime ministers agreed that the two countries have good economic and political relations, but greater collaboration is still needed.

Lee, who is on his first official visit to Hungary, said the country is changing rapidly, and Singapore sees this as promising for trade and investment. Lee also hopes that Hungarian companies will be interested in the opportunities available in Singapore, which will allow them to tap into the wider Asian region. He said: “Through Singapore, you can work with other ASEAN countries – Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia – with China, with India, and therefore link up with the transformation of Asia which is going to change the world. They could either partner Singapore companies to do this or they could come to Singapore, set up in Singapore and use Singapore as their regional base to operate in the region. I think what’s important is to have close relations between the two governments, which will help pave the way for our businesses to link up with each other.” Hungarian Prime Minister Gyurcsány said: “We have to break down the barriers because they are the impediments of the business cooperation. So what Hungarians can do is to create a business environment which is worthwhile for others to come to Hungary to invest. For example, we have developed our infrastructure.”

Hungarian journalists are also interested in what is happening in Myanmar. Lee reiterated his call for the international community to throw their full weight behind the UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari who is expected to visit Myanmar again next month. He said: “We hope with our support and the support of the major powers that he will, over time, be able to bring them closer together and work out a workable basis for Myanmar to move ahead and I think that’s also a role which Hungary can play as a member of the UN.” When asked whether Singapore’s economy may be overheating, Lee said he does not believe so, adding that the economy is expected to grow between 7-8% this year. (channelnewsasia.com)

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