President Halimah: Singapore and Manila 'can do more together'
President Halimah and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reaffirm strong ties during her first state visit to the country
Singapore has excellent ties with the Philippines, but both countries can do more together economically and in multilateral fora like Asean, said President Halimah Yacob yesterday.
She was speaking at a joint press conference at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, where she was hosted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
It is Madam Halimah's first state visit to the Philippines. She is in the country for five days to commemorate the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations between the countries.
She said: "The economic ties between our two countries are strong and robust, but President Duterte and I agreed that we can do even more together. There is room to further boost trade and investment flows."
Some initiatives include making progress in updating the Singapore-Philippines Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement and the expansion of the bilateral Air Transport Agreement, which will increase connectivity and create more opportunities for collaboration and growth, Madam Halimah said.
"The 14th Philippines-Singapore Business Council Meeting that will be held (today) is another valuable platform for business leaders from both sides to connect, exchange ideas and strengthen economic links."
She noted that during her meeting with Mr Duterte, both presidents reaffirmed the strong ties between the two countries and took stock of their bilateral cooperation.
Singapore was the Philippines' top Asean trading partner and the second largest foreign investor last year.
"Singaporean businesses are keen to do more in the Philippines. I understand that they are exploring new areas of cooperation such as agri-food trade and smart city initiatives," said Madam Halimah.
Mr Duterte said in his address that both presidents also talked about deepening cooperation in defence and security.
He said they have committed to further intensify trade and investment links.
Earlier in the day, Madam Halimah laid a wreath at the Rizal Park, named in honour of Philippine national hero, Dr Jose Rizal.
Dr Rizal visited Singapore four times in the 19th century.
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