PM Lee and President Macron reaffirm commitment to free and open international trading system

PARIS: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and French President Emmanuel Macron have reaffirmed the commitment of their two countries to a free and open international trading system.

The two leaders also pledged Singapore and France’s commitment to multilateralism, globalisation, the rule of law and sustainable development as they met officially for the first time on Friday (Jul 13).

Macron and PM Lee

A statement from the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office said the two leaders had a good and wide-ranging discussion covering topics such as nurturing innovation, responding to technological disruption, and developing smart cities.

The two leaders also discussed regional and international developments, and noted that the global order, based on openness, globalisation and free trade has come under great pressure.

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President Macron accepted PM Lee’s invitation to visit Singapore and deliver the keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue sometime in the future.

This Saturday, Prime Minister Lee will be the guest of honour at the French national day parade in the heart of Paris – the first Singapore Prime Minister to do so. 

Also for the first time, a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) contingent based in southwest France is taking part in the parade. 

The event, which involves a military parade down the Champs-Elysées, will feature a France-Singapore combined fly-past this year.

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Soldiers bearing the flags of Singapore will also march alongside French troops.

Each year, the French president invites a country to join in the Bastille Day parade on Jul 14, a national holiday in France. 

Mr Macron hosted US President Donald Trump at the celebration last year.

During his trip, Mr Lee also attended a lunch with French industry players and he will be attending a reception with overseas Singaporeans.

His visit comes at the mid-point of the 2018 France-Singapore Year of Innovation, which is aimed at deepening bilateral relationship between both countries through intensifying cooperation on innovation.

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In line with this, Mr Lee and Mr Macron have issued a France-Singapore Road Map for Deepening Cooperation in Digital Innovation, Internet Governance and Cybersecurity.

The roadmap reaffirms both countries’ commitment to an open, secure and reliable cyberspace, amongst other things.

In addition to this, a total of eight Memoranda of Understanding in areas like artificial intelligence, research and development, and energy were concluded in conjunction with PM Lee’s visit.