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Statement on Canada's Bilateral Relations with the Republic of Singapore - April 12, 2016

Honourable Senators, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to talk about Canada-Singapore relations.

Singapore is the world's only island city-state. Like Canada, Singapore is also a multilingual society, with four official languages – English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. Both Canada and Singapore have diverse populations that represent a range of cultural values, customs and perspectives. Both nations embrace values of tolerance, respect, diversity, and multiculturalism. Both countries are members of British Commonwealth ruled with the Westminster parliamentary system.

As a Senator coming from Singapore, I am delighted that Canada was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the Republic of Singapore on December 15, 1965. Since then relations between Canada and Singapore have grown to encompass many areas, including governance and the rule of law, pluralism, trade, and Arctic matters.

Our relation is strengthened by cooperation in multilateral forums such as APEC, WTO, TPP, and with dialogue through ASEAN. In 2014, the value of Canada’s bilateral merchandise trade with Singapre was $2.5 billion, an 8.4 percent increase from the previous year. Between 2013 and 2014, Canadian merchandise exports to Singapore increased by 34.3 percent to $1.3 billion.

As a member of the standing Senate committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee, I was part of a fact finding mission to Singapore in February 2015 to study security conditions and economic developments in the Asia-Pacific Region. I would like to thank High Commissioner Philip Eng for his kind assistance and hospitality during our stay there, which made the trip informative as well as pleasant for all members of our delegation.

As a major Asian gateway, Singapore enjoys a vital location to tap the Asian market. China, India and Australia all lie within seven-hour flight. Singapore is the third largest trade market for Canada within the ASEAN member states.

On a people-to-people basis, the two countries also have strong connections. Canada is a leading destination for Singaporean students to travel to for their higher education and more than 80,000 Canadians visit the city-state every year. December last year, our two countries jointly marked 50 years of diplomatic relations as well as celebrated Singapore’s 50th birthday.

As one the world’s top financial and trading centers, Singapore is a key ally for Canada, and offers a variety of commercial, research and development opportunities for Canadian businesses. I wish a resident mission can be established in Ottawa as a first step toward a more robust and dynamic relationship between our two countries in the coming years.

Thank you! Merci! Terima kasih!