MFA Press Statement: Visit by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong to the Republic of The Union of Myanmar, 2-4 February 2015

03 Feb 2015

ESM Goh Chok Tong called on Myanmar President U Thein Sein at the Presidential Palace, Nay Pyi Taw, on 3 February 2015 [Photo: MFA]


        Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong met President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar U Thein Sein today.  They had a discussion on the challenges facing Myanmar’s political and economic reforms.  ESM encouraged President Thein Sein to invest in Myanmar’s youth and education as a foundation for Myanmar’s long-term growth, and advocated the importance of developing the tourism, finance, and services sectors as an engine for wealth creation in Myanmar.  President Thein Sein expressed appreciation for Singapore’s technical assistance to Myanmar, in particular Singapore’s commitment to establish the Singapore-Myanmar Vocational Training Institute in Yangon.

        Both leaders reaffirmed the excellent bilateral relations between Singapore and Myanmar, and discussed ways to deepen bilateral cooperation. ESM and President Thein Sein also raised the revival of the Singapore-Myanmar Joint Ministerial Working Committee (JMWC), which will serve as a platform to promote bilateral economic cooperation and forge new business opportunities.  The details of the JMWC are attached.   

         ESM also met Union Minister for Finance U Win Shein this morning, along with Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) Governor U Kyaw Kyaw Maung.  The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the CBM announced their intention to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding on capacity-building and banking supervision as part of Singapore’s commitment to deepen financial cooperation with Myanmar.   ESM also met members of the Myanmar Investment Commission, including its Chairman and Union Minister for Energy U Zeya Aung, over dinner. 

          ESM concludes his visit to Myanmar on 4 February 2015.  He will also be meeting Union Parliament Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann, Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Union Minister in the President’s Office U Soe Thane, Chairperson of the Lower House Committee for Rule of Law, Peace and Tranquility in the Myanmar Union Parliament and Chairperson of the National League for Democracy Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and Vice Chairman of the Union Solidarity and Development Party U Htay Oo.


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Singapore-Myanmar Joint Ministerial Working Committee


         Singapore and Myanmar will reconvene the bilateral Joint Ministerial Working Committee (JMWC) this year to strengthen bilateral economic ties.


          The JMWC was established in 1995 as a platform to promote bilateral economic cooperation and forge new business opportunities. The revived JMWC will focus on collaboration in three areas of mutual interest: (a) trade and investment, (b) finance and (c) legal sectors. Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang and Union Minister for Energy and Chairman of the Myanmar Investment Commission Zeya Aung will be the co-chairs for the JMWC. The decision was made during Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong’s visit to Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar from 2 to 4 February 2015.  Officials from both sides are working towards reconvening the JMWC meeting this year.


          Singapore and Myanmar enjoy strong economic links with bilateral trade growing steadily in recent years. In 2014, trade rose by 6.6% year-on-year to reach S$3.23 billion[1]. Myanmar moved up eight places to become Singapore’s 29th largest trading partner in 2014, while Singapore was Myanmar’s 3rd largest trading partner in 2013[2]. Singapore was also Myanmar’s third largest foreign investor in 2014, with a cumulative investment of US$8.3 billion[3]. Singapore companies have made significant investments in Myanmar with projects across various sectors such as hotel and tourism, industrial and real estate.






[1] Source: IE Singapore


[2] Source: European Trade Commission – Myanmar Country Report 2013 


[3] Source: These figures reflect cumulative approved investments from Singapore into Myanmar as at end Dec 2014.  The statistics are taken from the Myanmar Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).  




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