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Statement by Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office and other International Organisations at Geneva, Umej Bhatia, at the UNCTAD Investment Policy Review (IPR) of Armenia, 12 November 2019

15 Nov 2019

STATEMENT BY THE PERMANENT MISSION OF SINGAPORE AT THE UNCTAD INVESTMENT POLICY REVIEW (IPR) OF ARMENIA,
12 NOVEMBER 2019

Mr President, Ambassador Mr. Alfredo Suescum (Permanent Representative of Panama to the World Trade Organization),

A warm welcome to Deputy Minister Hovnanyan and his accompanying delegation,

Excellencies,

I thank the UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise for inviting Singapore to participate at the Investment Policy Review of Armenia.

Singapore congratulates Armenia on its achievements in recent years, in particular the measures taken to strengthen its economy following Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s assumption of office in May 2018.

We commend the Government’s five-year economic plan to begin a nationwide economic revolution. We note that under this plan, Armenia will also adopt an “open door policy” towards foreign investors, and implement growth-friendly tax codes.

Apart from seeking to diversify its economy, Armenia has also made an effort to embark on reforms to enforce fiscal discipline and to help create a level playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises and to attract foreign investment.

Armenia has also placed an emphasis on the development of its high-technology, IT and transport sectors, and has made strides in putting in place anti-corruption laws.

These are a positive set of initiatives that we believe will make Armenia an attractive location for investments. We are confident these initiatives will bear fruit.

Mr President,

Singapore and Armenia share warm and longstanding relations. As fellow small states, Singapore and Armenia also share many common perspectives.

This year Singapore celebrates our bicentennial, a period of our history that also coincides with Armenia’s first known connections to Singapore. Around 200 years ago, a group of Armenian merchants were amongst the earliest immigrants to move to Singapore. While their numbers were small, no more than 100 people at any one time, their impact was significant and signs of Armenian influence can still be found all over Singapore today. The Sarkies brothers opened the iconic Raffles Hotel in 1887. Even Singapore’s national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid, was bred by Ms Agnes Joaquim, who was a Singaporean of Armenian descent.

More recently, in July 2019, Prime Minister Pashinyan made his first visit to Singapore.

Two months later, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the first visit by a Singapore Prime Minister to Armenia and we signed two crucial investment agreements.

The Agreements were concluded after just seven rounds of formal negotiations, and the speed at which they were concluded is thanks in large part to the personal efforts put in by Prime Minister Pashinyan.

Singapore looks forward to the benefits that this Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first comprehensive FTA that the EAEU has signed, will bring to both our countries.

Mr President,

Singapore hopes that the input and encouragement received by Armenia through today’s review process will help Armenia further strengthen its investment framework and policies to bring an even better life and livelihood for its people. Singapore wishes the Armenian government every success in its trade and development goals.

I thank you.

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