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In order to strengthen their bilateral economic ties, Thailand and Singapore have signed a number of agreements. Tourism, intellectual property, sustainability, and the trade in meat are among the topics covered in the memoranda of understanding.
A complementary relationship
Thailand and Singapore have highly complementary economies, which explains the momentum in their bilateral relations. Singapore is Southeast Asia’s premier financial center and a popular base for foreign investors to station their regional headquarters. Thailand, meanwhile, is the second largest economy in ASEAN and a key export manufacturing country.
The Thailand-Singapore economic relationship is significant. In 2020, Singapore was the largest foreign investor in Thailand, investing US$1.8 billion. In total, Singapore had US$24.9 billion in direct investment stock in Thailand at the end of 2020, concentrated in financial and insurance services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate.
In 2021, Thailand and Singapore had S$34.1 billion (US$24.8 billion) in bilateral trade, representing a 3.6 percent year-on-year increase. Through the first half of 2022, bilateral trade reached S$21.6 billion (US$15.7 billion) – an increase of 31.9 percent over the same period the previous year.
Ministers from Thailand and Singapore oversaw the agreements at the sixth Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Economic Relationship (STEER) ministerial meeting held in Bangkok in October 2022. The agreements touch on a number of issues, including trade and intellectual property, and stand to further expand the increasingly close economic relationship between Thailand and Singapore.
Strengthening economic cooperation
The Thai and Singaporean ministers that attended the STEER ministerial meetings signed or oversaw the signing of one memorandum of cooperation (MoC) and four memoranda of understanding (MoUs).
The agreements are either between government agencies, industry associations, or private companies. They are summarized below.
The Intellectual Property Department of Thailand and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore signed an MoC and the Implementation Workplan 2022–2024 to deepen bilateral cooperation on intellectual property.
As part of the cooperation, the two sides will establish a pilot bilateral Collaborative Search and Examination (S&E) program to help entrepreneurs and innovators in Thailand and Singapore obtain faster intellectual property protection.
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ASEAN Briefing features business news, regulatory updates and extensive data on ASEAN free trade, double tax agreements and foreign direct investment laws in the region. Covering all ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)