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May 2018
Seventh Session of High-Level Russia–Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission

During the session, discussions were held on the creation of a free trade zone between Singapore and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

The co-chairs of the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC), First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Shuvalov and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, summarized the progress made on the issues raised during the Sixth Session of the IGC, and outlined future opportunities for cooperation in investment, infrastructure development, and education.

Both parties reaffirmed their mutual interest in developing Russia–Singapore relations, including with regard to the agreements reached during Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to Russia in May this year.

The co-chairs expressed the view that for trade and economic relations to thrive in the long term, it is essential both to work together more efficiently and to step up cooperation on major economic projects.

As a result of the meeting, an agreement was signed between a consortium involving Changi Airports International, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and Basic Element on managing Vladivostok airport.

Singapore also ratified an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation.

During the Session, participants discussed the creation of a free trade zone between Singapore and the EAEU. “We see it as vital that we work together with Singapore on establishing a free trade agreement, as Singapore is a member of ASEAN”, said Igor Shuvalov. According to Shuvalov, Singapore could be a pathway to cooperation with ASEAN as a whole.

The free trade agreement between Singapore and the EAEU is scheduled to be finalized in 2017, and ratified in the first half of 2018.

In particular, the First Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the fact that Singapore is one of Russia’s key partners in South-East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. He invited his Singaporean counterparts to attend the Eighth Session of the IGC in Russia, adding that the host city is up for discussion. “It doesn’t have to be Moscow or St Petersburg. We want to show you all the options we have at our disposal”, he said.

Mr. Shuvalov then invited the Singaporean delegation to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which will take place on June 1–3, 2017.

Source: government.ru (Russian)