Joint Declaration on the Singapore-United Kingdom Strategic Partnership

09 September 2023

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India. During the meeting, Prime Minister Lee and Prime Minister Sunak issued a Joint Declaration to elevate Singapore-United Kingdom relations to a Strategic Partnership.
The Strategic Partnership encompasses five pillars, namely Economic Cooperation; Defence, Security, Intelligence and Foreign Policy Cooperation; Climate, Sustainability, Green Economy and Energy Cooperation; Research, Science, Innovation, and Technology Cooperation; and Public Sector Cooperation. The Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership heralds a new era in Singapore-United Kingdom relations, catalysing opportunities for both countries to cooperate and strengthen linkages across various sectors.
The full text of the Joint Declaration is at Annex.
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1 Singapore and the United Kingdom share a longstanding and historical partnership. Our strong, broad and deep relationship is underpinned by a strategic convergence and an unwavering commitment to free trade, international law and the rules-based multilateral system, as well as maintaining an open and inclusive regional architecture. We are connected by a shared commitment to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.
2 Relations between Singapore and the United Kingdom are dynamic and comprehensive at all levels, across trade and investment, finance, defence and security, digitalisation and cybersecurity, science and technology, education, culture and sustainable development. Our cooperation reflects the like-minded, innovative and forward-looking nature of our bilateral relationship.
3 The Prime Ministers of Singapore and the United Kingdom commit to build on the positive trajectory and momentum of our 2019 Partnership for the Future and the 2021 Singapore-United Kingdom Joint Political Statement. We elevate our relationship and declare it a Strategic Partnership, strengthening existing and launching new areas of bilateral cooperation.
Economic cooperation
4 We recognise that our security is built on our prosperity, and commit to deepening our economic relationship to strengthen the dynamism and resilience of our economies. Our trade and investment ties will promote mutual prosperity, economic cooperation and global growth. We will strengthen collaboration in traditional areas of trade, investment and finance, explore new frontiers in digital trade and the digital economy, and take steps together to ensure our economies are more resilient. To achieve this, we will:
(a) Maximise the benefits and opportunities from the entry into force and effective implementation of the United Kingdom-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (UKSFTA) and the United Kingdom-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA), as well as the United Kingdom’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP);
(b) Conclude negotiations on a modern and robust Bilateral Investment Treaty that protects and promotes investment between our two countries, keeping us at the forefront of best practices;
(c) Explore mechanisms to facilitate cross-border data flows, promote the adoption of interoperable digital systems through multilateral fora (including ASEAN), and exchange best practices on digital transformation and other areas of mutual interest in the digital economy including under the UKSDEA and the Memorandum of Understanding on Data Cooperation;
(d) Leverage our Economic and Business Partnership established in February 2011 to drive delivery of our respective economic and trade priorities, promote business cooperation in research and innovation as well as intellectual property, share economic analysis and conduct policy exchanges;
(e) Deepen cooperation to strengthen global economic governance, economic resilience and capacity to combat financial crime and illicit finance. We will continue discussions on topics related to economic resilience, including supply chains, investment, strategic sectors and international financial sanction obligations;
(f) Cooperate on regional economic development and trade issues, including through ASEAN, and take action on issues of global and common concern at the United Nations, G20, WTO and other relevant international fora;
(g) Build on cooperation under the United Kingdom-Singapore Financial Partnership announced in June 2021 to explore opportunities for greater financial cooperation, including enhanced information sharing, closer cooperation in international fora, as well as regulatory deference. The primary platform to monitor progress will be through an annual United Kingdom-Singapore Financial Dialogue;
(h) Work together to scale green and transition finance, and explore bilateral pilot projects that support innovation and resilience in our respective financial systems; and
(i) Use the United Kingdom-Singapore FinTech Bridge to support continued growth, investment and technological innovation in the FinTech sector and expand cooperation in areas including central bank digital currencies, digital assets/tokenisation as well as payments technology.
Defence, security, intelligence and foreign policy cooperation
5 Our defence, security, intelligence and foreign policy cooperation will contribute towards maintaining a free, open, inclusive, stable and peaceful international rules-based order. We recognise the importance of strengthening our capabilities, to safeguard regional security. To achieve this, we will:
(a) Expand bilateral defence cooperation through our 2018 Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation to further defence cooperation in areas of common security focus;
(b) Reaffirm our longstanding and robust commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), further modernise the construct of FPDA exercises and facilitate the introduction of more advanced assets, to preserve and enhance the professional and strategic value of the FPDA;
(c) Collaborate to tackle the increasing threats and malicious activity seen in the digital and cyber domains through closer exchanges on threat assessments and deterrence strategies, and jointly drive international cyber capacity-building initiatives, including through the UN and the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence;
(d) Strengthen cooperation and explore deepening partnerships between the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence and Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, including the Digital and Intelligence Service, in areas such as management of hybrid threats, particularly threats in the digital, cyber and information domains;
(e) Develop opportunities for further defence capability collaboration and industry collaboration, including greater cooperation in areas such as the F‑35Bs;
(f) Take action together to uphold and strengthen an open and rules-based multilateral system, including through regular dialogue on international law and multilateral cooperation. Singapore will support the United Kingdom’s engagement with ASEAN, and we will share information and analysis on regional and international developments;
(g) Collaborate on maritime security issues facing our nations and in the Asia-Pacific region, including supporting ASEAN partners to respond to challenges in the maritime domain, working together to tackle new and emerging threats including to our ports, shipping industries and regional shipping routes, and to uphold the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and international maritime law; and
(h) Strengthen homeland security and safety cooperation, such as through information-sharing in areas of common interest, and tackling of shared threats from illicit finance, economic and organised crime. We will build resilience and capability to protect against those threats through dialogue and policy exchanges on best practices.
Climatesustainability, green economy and energy cooperation
6 Our climatesustainability, green economy and energy partnership will promote and develop a green economy that achieves the goals of the Paris Agreement and Glasgow Climate Pact, enhance energy security and climate resilience, conserve and restore nature, halt biodiversity loss and create new jobs in sectors of the future. To achieve this, we will:
(a) Reaffirm our commitment to supporting global climate action under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), effective implementation of our obligations under the Paris Agreement, and efforts to keep the target of 1.5oC within reach, as our countries work to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, in line with the latest science;
(b) Commit to pursuing ambitious climate action in support of our obligations under the multilateral environment agreements;
(c) Accelerate economic growth in green sectors and enhance energy security through our ground-breaking United Kingdom-Singapore Green Economy Framework (UKSGEF), which will encourage the decarbonisation of economic activities, and development of low carbon energy technologies, green transport, carbon markets and sustainable finance;
(d) Foster the skills and workforce needs of future industry through the establishment of a Green Skills Corridor;
(e) Establish a strategic partnership to accelerate regional sustainable infrastructure and investment, including to support energy transition and low carbon energy projects, and advance regional interconnectivity to strengthen energy security and resilience. This will be achieved through collaboration on areas such as innovative financing solutions (including blended financing) and upstream project development (including technical assistance and private sector engagement);
(f) Grow a strong partnership in civil nuclear cooperation. This may include cooperation on nuclear safety and security, including in the Southeast Asia region, within the context of the region’s existing legal frameworks and policies, and sharing information on fusion energy, to facilitate capability building; and
(g) Strengthen cooperation to advance regional nature and biodiversity outcomes including through the delivery of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (including Target 12) and exploring collaboration on blue economy and blue carbon initiatives, including supporting the work of, and capacity-building with, Small Island Developing States, and through multilateral initiatives such as the Blue Carbon Action Partnership, amongst others.
Research, science, innovation, and technology cooperation
7 As leaders in research, science, innovation, and technology, we will work together to develop solutions to tackle global challenges and drive economic growth, and to safeguard our future security and bolster economic prosperity. To achieve this, we will:
(a) Launch a refreshed Science, Innovation and Technology Partnership to reaffirm our strong and deep bilateral relationship in this area;
(b) Renew our commitment to collaborate and to leverage investments in research and innovation across priorities that will drive economic growth and beneficial societal impact;
(c) Jointly engage on and influence international standards, frameworks and guidelines for critical and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its governance, and Engineering Biology;
(d) Collaborate on joint approaches to enable scientific research exchanges, talent mobility, and support research and innovation in priority areas;
(e) Deepen our cooperation on developing domestic and international standards on Internet of Things (IoT) security and app security, and on cyber skills development;
(f) Cooperate to develop science and technology capabilities and conduct exchanges to address global issues and challenges, such as mitigating the impacts of future pandemics and climate change; and
(g) Deepen our collaborative relationship and share information on public health to optimise the use of precision medicine, tackle future health threats, prepare for ageing population demographics and ensure global health security.
Public sector cooperation
8 We will also enhance our public sector cooperation, to share insight and build capacity for the benefit of both countries. To achieve this, we will:
(a) Hold an annual Permanent Secretary-level Public Service Roundtable;
(b) Encourage greater cooperation in the arts, heritage and cultural sectors by exploring exchanges for cultural professionals and institutions; and
(c) Promote capacity-building in developing countries through joint technical assistance programmes under the Singapore-United Kingdom Third Country Training Programme.
9 The Foreign Ministries will regularly review progress in the implementation of the Strategic Partnership, via a roadmap that will be regularly updated to ensure that our cooperation remains relevant and future-ready. The Foreign Ministers will maintain oversight of the strategic direction of the bilateral relationship through regular contact.
10 This Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership heralds a new era in Singapore-United Kingdom relations, catalysing opportunities for our people to cooperate and strengthen linkages, for the common peace, stability and prosperity of our countries.
Issued on 9 September 2023 by:

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