[I am pleased to note that our bilateral trade has increased four-fold in the last decade to reach US$10.1 billion last year, and Singapore is currently one of the top three foreign investors in Vietnam with over 930 projects worth nearly US$23 billion. ]

Source:
http://www.istana.gov.sg/content/istana/news/speeches/state_banquet_inhonourofpresidenttruongtansangofvietnam.html

26 September 2011 –  President Tony Tan Keng Yam welcomed President Truong Tan Sang and Madam Mai Thi Hanh in their first ever state visit overseas

SPEECH BY PRESIDENT TONY TAN KENG YAM AT THE STATE BANQUET HOSTED IN HONOUR OF HIS EXCELLENCY TRUONG TAN SANG, PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

Your Excellency President Truong Tan Sang and Madam Mai Thi Hanh
Excellencies
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
  

Singapore is most honoured to welcome Your Excellency and Madam on your first State Visit overseas.  This is also the first State Visit that I am hosting since my election as President of Singapore.  Your Excellency’s presence today bears testament to the strong friendship and partnership between our two countries.  

It is indeed my pleasure to welcome Your Excellency back to Singapore.  It has been more than ten years since Your Excellency’s last official visit in March 1998 as a Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellow.  It has also been some time since my last official visit to Vietnam nearly fifteen years ago, in November 1996.  I was then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence.  I am delighted to see that our bilateral relationship has since strengthened manifold.  Today, our countries have close and growing links at all levels, with excellent political ties, good cooperation between our governments, robust economic relations, and expanding people-to-people exchanges.  Your Excellency has played a crucial role in advancing the bilateral relationship over the years.  Notably, Your Excellency facilitated and supported Singapore investments into Vietnam when you were Party Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City.  We hope to have Your Excellency’s continued strong support to bring our friendship to even greater heights. 

The Connectivity Framework Agreement, currently in its seventh year, underpins our economic cooperation.  It has provided the overarching framework to increase cooperation across six key sectors of education and training, finance, information technology and telecommunications, investment, trade and services, as well as transportation.  With the good progress made, our officials have sought to further develop new areas of cooperation, such as in human resource development, urban development and housing, cruise tourism, and air and maritime connectivity. 

The close cooperation between our two governments has provided an environment conducive for our private sector exchanges to intensify.  I am pleased to note that our bilateral trade has increased four-fold in the last decade to reach US$10.1 billion last year, and Singapore is currently one of the top three foreign investors in Vietnam with over 930 projects worth nearly US$23 billion.  I recall visiting the first Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (or VSIP) in Bin Duong province not long after its groundbreaking in 1996.  Today, there are already three VSIPs which are operating successfully and a fourth in Hai Phong City which is being developed.  I am very pleased that an MOU on the feasibility study of a new VSIP will be signed during Your Excellency’s visit.  These flagship projects symbolise our excellent partnership and Singapore’s confidence in the future of Vietnam. 

Your Excellency,

I am delighted to see that our bilateral cooperation has expanded to many areas including defence, education and training.  The signing of the bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement two years ago has provided a strong foundation to further enhance our defence cooperation.  There are also increased people-to-people exchanges. Singapore is happy to host a vibrant Vietnamese student community, and over 12,000 Vietnamese government officials have been trained under the Singapore Cooperation Programme and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration.  Such exchanges help to enhance bilateral cooperation and strengthen the friendship between our peoples.  Both countries should continue to explore new areas of cooperation for our mutual benefit. 

Beyond our excellent bilateral ties, we also work closely together in ASEAN.  We are united in our ambitious goal of achieving an ASEAN Community by 2015.  Vietnam’s Chairmanship last year was an effective and successful one, which delivered the ASEAN Connectivity Master Plan to bring the region closer together, and the world closer to ASEAN.  We also look forward to working with Vietnam to realise the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP), which can be the foundation of an eventual Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).  In these uncertain economic times, Singapore and Vietnam should press ahead with our shared vision for the betterment of our peoples and the region.

Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

May I invite you to rise and join me in a toast:

• to the good health and success of His Excellency President Truong Tan Sang and Madam Hanh

• to the peace, progress and prosperity of the people of Vietnam; and

• to the enduring friendship between Singapore and Vietnam.

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