Friday, 31 July 2015

UK Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to Singapore, 28 to 29 July 2015

Singapore, Britain to boost cooperation on cyber security
Both countries also agree to work together on combating terrorism and maritime piracy
By Idayu Suparto, The Straits Times, 30 Jul 2015

Singapore and Britain yesterday agreed to step up cooperation on cyber security, in an acknowledgement of the growing threat of cyber attacks, while pledging to bolster collaboration on fighting terrorism and maritime piracy.

As part of efforts to beef up cyber security, the two countries yesterday said they would work together to cooperate in areas ranging from emergency response and cyber research to talent development.

Both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cyber Security Cooperation that will see them doubling their joint spending in cyber research and development from $2.5 million to $5.1 million over three years.

The MOU was signed by Cyber Security Agency chief executive David Koh and Britain's National Security Adviser, Sir Nigel Kim Darroch. It built on agreements made during President Tony Tan Keng Yam's state visit to Britain last year.

The signing took place on the second and final day of British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to Singapore at the Istana. He and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the signing.

"The UK has well-known expertise in this field and we hope to share our experiences in this increasingly important area," Mr Lee told a joint press conference.

The two prime ministers earlier held talks, where Mr Cameron said both countries agreed to explore ways to work together in the global fight against terrorism and share experiences on countering extremist ideologies spread by groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as ISIL.

Mr Cameron said he would discuss with Mr Lee how Britain and Singapore can work together to "protect ourselves from the threat of ISIL and to counter the extremist ideology that is doing so much harm to our young people".

Mr Lee noted that both countries could share their experiences particularly in dealing with individuals who have been radicalised.

"We have some experience in Singapore in that area in the form of the Religious Rehabilitation Group. I think Britain has already been working on these areas and I'm sure that we'll be exchanging notes on those," he added.

On maritime security, Mr Cameron said his country would provide assistance to the Singapore navy as it works with partners in the region to tackle piracy.

The two leaders discussed other issues, including regional and international developments and Britain's engagement of Asia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Mr Cameron also called on President Tan, and they agreed both countries should continue to cooperate on initiatives discussed during Dr Tan's visit last year.

Mr Cameron's visit comes at a time of key milestones for Singapore as it celebrates its 50th year of independence and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Britain. As part of National Day celebrations next month, Singapore will be receiving Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, as the Queen's representative.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Cameron visited Commonwealth Secondary School to learn about Singapore's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or "Stem", Applied Learning Programme.

He later graced the opening of a business seminar promoting trade and investment links before leaving for Vietnam, the third stop of his South-east Asia tour, which concludes in Kuala Lumpur today.

Look to the north of England, urges Cameron
By Rachael Boon, The Straits Times, 30 Jul 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron backs the strong business ties between Singapore and Britain and yesterday urged investors here to widen their scope by considering the north of England.

Mr Cameron told a seminar: "We would encourage you to look at Britain in a new way.

"There are plenty of investment opportunities, of course, in London and the south-east, but look again at the north of England."

That includes Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, which are part of a plan - referred to as the Northern Powerhouse - to boost their economic status.

Mr Cameron, who was on his first official visit here, also noted opportunities in housing, retail and investment, adding: "We want to rebalance our country and we want Singaporean and other South-east Asian investors to help us to do it. That is what the Northern Powerhouse is all about."


He also said that as Singapore "continues to restructure itself to meet its future vision of a knowledge-driven economy, and to maintain its position as a regional centre", Britain is there to offer its expertise. Britain has experience in areas such as smart cities, cyber, transport, advanced engineering and finance, and the north of England is "brimming" with infrastructure opportunities, for instance.

Mr S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, said during the event at Unilever's one-north training facility that bilateral trade between Britain and Singapore had doubled to £7.5 billion (S$16 billion) from 2002 to 2012.

Britain is now Singapore's fourth-largest trading partner in Europe, while Singapore is Britain's largest trading partner in the Asean region.


Singapore and British firms have long worked with each other.

Mr Iswaran noted: "Rolls Royce and Singapore companies have embarked on pre-competitive research in aviation technologies and solutions.

"This has enabled them to share the risks of developing new technology, and in turn strengthened the capabilities of the industry."

He added that Sembcorp's first overseas energy-from-waste facility is in Middlesbrough, Teesside, in the north-east of England, while City Developments' hotel arm has hotels in Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

Mr Iswaran also noted that South-east Asia offers tremendous opportunities for British firms, particularly in the light of the upcoming Asean Economic Community and the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

He added that the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) will further strengthen links between Singapore and Europe, and British firms here which have supply chains across Asean will benefit.

"Bradford Brewery and Leeds Brewery recently created a special 'Northern Powerhouse' beer. That brew, if exported to Singapore, will not only lift spirits but also enjoy zero tariffs under the EUSFTA," he said to laughter.


Mr Sajid Javid, Britain's Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, was confident that the working relationship between Britain and Singapore would grow.

He cited the financial technology innovation programme Startupbootcamp FinTech, which held an event at Gardens by the Bay yesterday.

Mr Javid, who was part of a business delegation accompanying Mr Cameron, noted that some of the start-ups featured involved Britons who were working with Singaporean partners.

It is important for "both sides to recognise the opportunities that already exist", he added.

Mr Cameron pointed to a £500,000 contract won by FutureEverything, a firm from Manchester that deals with digital innovation and culture, to bring its long-running festival to Singapore later this year.

This is a partnership between FutureEverything and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, noted FutureEverything founder Drew Hemment.

Developing smart cities is ano-ther area to consider.

Mr Javid told The Straits Times that Britain can provide testbeds for products being created in Singapore for that purpose.

An agreement was also signed yesterday by Singapore's Cyber Security Agency and the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance in the United Kingdom Cabinet Office. They will team up to work on cyber security emergency responses and talent development, among other areas.

Mr Javid said: "Cyber threats and technology are something that the British government and companies invest a great deal in. It's a great issue, and opportunity for Singapore in terms of investment."

Cameron pledges to strengthen Singapore links
British PM urges region's investors to help his nation end over-reliance on European trade
By Idayu Suparto, The Straits Times, 29 Jul 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday pledged to step up Britain's trade links with Singapore and Asia as he sought to woo investors from the region and counter his country's dependence on trade with Europe.

Mr Cameron used his speech at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy to showcase business opportunities in Britain.

"Britain is back and Britain means business... And we are more focused than ever on making our country one of the very best places to do business," he said in his lecture, which was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu.

Mr Cameron, who arrived in Singapore yesterday with a delegation of mainly business leaders and officials for his first official visit, acknowledged that Britain had been too reliant on its European neighbours for trade and investment for too long.

He urged his country's businesses to look beyond their backyard to markets in a rapidly rising Asean.

"There is a world beyond Europe and where Britain must not miss out. And nowhere more so than in South-east Asia. It's a striking statistic that Britain still does more trade with Belgium than with the whole of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam combined," he said, referring to the three other countries on his four-nation South-east Asia tour this week.

He highlighted that Asean was now the seventh-largest economy in the world. He also referred to the much-anticipated Asean Economic Community, which comes into full swing in December. These were the reasons he had chosen the region for his first major trade visit since being re-elected in May.

Mr Cameron also urged those seeking to do business in Britain to look beyond its traditional markets - particularly to northern England, an area focused on the research and development, manufacturing, science and technology sectors.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Cameron visited the Botanic Gardens where an orchid, Papilionanda David Cameron, was named in his honour.

He also met top business leaders from Singapore and Britain at a reception organised by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to promote business links between the two countries.

Mr Cameron and Ms Fu also witnessed the signing of two statements of intent between UKTI and the Monetary Authority of Singapore with private sector co-signatories Lloyd's and Aviva.

The agreements seek to support the development of regional insurance markets, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Mr Cameron wraps up his visit today and will attend an official welcome ceremony at the Istana, where he will call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam and meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who will host him to lunch.

Mr Lee and Mr Cameron will also witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cyber Security Cooperation between Singapore and Britain.

“Corruption is one of the greatest enemies of progress in our time. It is the cancer at the heart of so many of the world’s problems.”– David Cameron, Prime Minister of UK
Posted by Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

British PM David Cameron pays tribute to Lee Kuan Yew
Mr Lee Kuan Yew's 'characteristic energy, determination and vision' took Singapore from independence 50 years ago and made it 'one of the greatest success stories of the modern world', says British Prime Minister David Cameron.
By Monica Kotwani, Channel NewsAsia, 28 Jul 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday (Jul 28) paid tribute to Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as he made an official visit to the Republic.

Speaking at a lecture organised by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Mr Cameron said: "With his characteristic energy, determination and vision, he took Singapore from independence 50 years ago, and made this country one of the greatest success stories of the modern world. And by inspiring economic reform across the Asia-Pacific region, he helped not only write Singapore's history, but Asia's too."

Mr Cameron is on a four-day visit to Southeast Asia, with a focus on trade and investment. In his speech, he said Singapore and Britain share a "special friendship" beyond a commitment to better trade and investment, and based on a shared history and outlook on the world.

Southeast Asia, a rapidly growing region, will bring together more than 600 million people when the ASEAN Economic Community is established this year.

Mr Cameron said: "It is a consumer market with as many smartphone users as the whole of Europe combined. It is an infrastructure market where the roads in Malaysia alone already stretch further than the circumference of the earth. It is a digital market where there are more tweets from the city of Jakarta than from any other city on our planet."

It is also why he has chosen ASEAN for his first major trade visit since the recent UK election.

Mr Cameron also spoke about the success of Singapore and Britain, which is underpinned on democracy, rule of law and free speech. He said: "They underpin innovation, creativity and choice. Because those things require investment and risk-taking and that only happens when people can be confident that their property rights will be respected, that their ideas won't be stolen and the legal system won't suddenly find itself against them in favour of a corrupt elite."

Mr Cameron's speech largely focused on rooting out corruption and he again cited Mr Lee's commitment to tackling corruption that helped give people confidence to invest in Singapore.

He said: "As we have seen in Britain and as we have seen here in Singapore, where tackling corruption has not held back economic growth, it has actually boosted it. Commerce depends on many things - rules, markets, products, customers. But for a large market to flourish, whether in Europe or in Asia, it also needs an element of trust. Corruption undermines all that."

Mr Cameron urged leaders to show the same commitment in tackling corruption in their countries. He also took questions from the floor, ranging from his success strategy for the future, to what lessons ASEAN can learn from the European Union.

Meanwhile, Mr Cameron also visited the National Orchid Garden, where an orchid was named after him. The hybrid, called “Papilionanda David Cameron”, has sepals and petals that are bluish purple in colour. Each bloom has a prominent "dark purple lip".

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