Relations between Singapore and Vietnam have grown from strength to strength since the two countries established bilateral diplomatic relations on 1 August 1973. Bilateral ties, which are excellent and multi-faceted, were elevated to that of a Strategic Partnership in 2013. Our leaders meet regularly, either during bilateral visits or at multilateral fora such as ASEAN and APEC meetings. Recent high level exchanges included Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Official Visit to Vietnam in March 2017, as well as his working visits to attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2017 and World Economic Forum on ASEAN in September 2018. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made an Official Visit to Singapore and attended the 32nd ASEAN Summit in April 2018, and also attended the 33rd ASEAN Summit in November 2018. Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan also made an Official Visit to Singapore in November 2017.
The expansion of trade and business links between Singapore and Vietnam over the years has also been a significant factor in forging robust bilateral ties. Economic relations are underpinned by the Connectivity Framework Agreement, an overarching platform to discuss issues on bilateral economic cooperation. Since its implementation in 2006, the Connectivity Framework has achieved good progress in creating a conducive environment for Singapore companies to invest in Vietnam. Singapore firms have consistently invested in Vietnam throughout the years. 2017 saw Singapore’s cumulative investment hit USD43.2 billion across 1,800 projects – making us Vietnam’s largest investor in ASEAN, and third-largest worldwide. The seven Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks in Binh Duong, Hai Phong, Bac Ninh, Quang Ngai, Hai Duong and Nghe An are concrete symbols of the close economic cooperation between the two countries. Bilateral trade between Singapore and Vietnam has also grown steadily over the past decade. In 2017, bilateral trade reached USD21.6 billion, an 8.9% increase year-on-year.
Singapore has also partnered Vietnam in its human resource development. Since 1992, more than 17,000 Vietnamese officials have attended courses under the Singapore Cooperation Programme in areas such as healthcare, environment, finance and trade, productivity, public administration and English language training. The Vietnam-Singapore Cooperation Centre in Hanoi, established in 2002 and upgraded in 2018, focuses on capacity building for Vietnamese officials and holds courses in relevant fields of study every week. Many Vietnamese students also pursue their studies in Singapore at the secondary, tertiary and post-graduate level. The interactions between Singaporeans and Vietnamese studying together contribute to the further strengthening our people-to-people ties.