President of the Republic of Singapore, Tony TAN Keng Yam, pays official visit to Bern

Bern, Press release, 08.05.2014

On Thursday, 8 May, President Didier Burkhalter received the President of the Republic of Singapore, Tony TAN Keng Yam, on an official visit . The two presidents affirmed their desire to strengthen and enhance relations between Switzerland and the South-East Asian city state. Relations are already extensive, particularly in the fields of business, finance and science.

The President of the Swiss Confederation welcomed his Singaporean counterpart at the Lohn country residence in Kehrsatz with military honours. The meetings that followed, which were also attended by Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, head of the Federal Department of Finances (FDF), and Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), provided an opportunity for the delegations to emphasise the excellent relations between Switzerland and Singapore. The two countries have maintained diplomatic relations since 1967.

In order to reinforce these ties, the Swiss and Singaporean delegations signed a Declaration of Enhanced Partnership. The document establishes a regular political dialogue and paves the way for the strengthening of cooperation between Switzerland and Singapore, primarily in terms of business and finance, as well as in the fields of research and innovation. It should also promote understanding between the two countries, in particular by encouraging cooperation at scientific level, as well as by facilitating exchanges among young professionals.

The Asia-Pacific region is the world's most dynamic region, stated President Burkhalter during the discussions, stressing that Singapore is one of the region's economic drivers and Switzerland's leading trade partner in South-East Asia.

Trade between the two countries increased considerably following the signing of a free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Singapore in 2003. This agreement was the first of its kind to be concluded by EFTA with an Asian country. In 2012, Switzerland's direct investment amounted to CHF 19.7 billion, making Switzerland the fifth largest investor in Singapore. In November 2012, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, the head of the EAER, and a delegation of representatives from the private sector travelled to Singapore for a series of high-level meetings with government representatives, with the aim of strengthening long-standing relations between the two countries.

Cooperation in the field of research and education also formed part of today’s discussions. For ten years Swissnex Singapore has been supporting Swiss universities, research institutes and high-tech companies in Singapore and has been facilitating scientific and technological exchanges. The aim is to promote Swiss institutions and establish networks through university exchanges, scientific contacts and research cooperation. The main actors involved are the University of St. Gallen (UniSG), the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne (ETH and EPFL) and the National Research Foundation of Singapore.

At the multilateral level, the Swiss and Singaporean delegations raised a number of issues including the continuation of the good collaboration at the United Nations. Mr Burkhalter, in his capacity as Chairperson-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also informed his counterpart of Switzerland's priorities during the year-long chairmanship and briefed him about the OSCE's efforts in connection with the crisis in Ukraine.

Further information:

Information FDFA

Tel. +41 (0)31 322 31 53

Information FDF

Tel. +41 (0)31 322 60 33

Information EAER

Tel. +41 (0)58 462 20 07


Further information:

Bilateral relations between Switzerland - Singapore
Events: Official visit of the President of the Republic of Singapore


Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Publisher:

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Federal Department of Finance
Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research