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Singapore-Australia IT MOU Signing Ceremony

BG Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister Speech at Singapore-Australia IT MOU Signing Ceremony

BG Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister
Speech at Singapore-Australia IT MOU Signing Ceremony
Singapore, 22 February 1999

The Honorable Tim Fischer, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, His Excellency Murray McLean, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, ladies and gentlemen.

1. Singapore and Australia have long enjoyed warm relations. We share similar economic and strategic interests. We work closely in many international organisations, including APEC, WTO and the ARF. Bilateral trade and investments have grown over the years. We have also a strong defence relationship.

2. The Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee Meeting provides an excellent forum for us to review and discuss these and other areas of co-operation. I understand that today's discussions were fruitful, and covered many issues of mutual concern, including the financial crisis, the global trading environment and regional security. We should continue to use this forum to further advance our bilateral relationship.

3. Today's signing of the IT MOU between our two countries underlines our excellent bilateral ties, and further expands the scope of our economic co-operation. This is not the first time our two countries have worked together to promote and facilitate information technology. For example, we recently co-chaired the APEC Task Force which produced a plan to develop e-commerce in the APEC economies.

4. This MOU establishes another link between Singapore and Australia in information and communications technology. It will also provide a broad framework for collaboration in key areas such as physical broadband connection, research and development, industry collaboration and harmonisation of electronic commerce policies. When our industries and institutions follow up on this MOU with concrete activities and projects, our two countries will become more competitive.

5. IT's potential is not merely to enhance the efficiency and productivity of business and other processes, but to break down geographical boundaries, and thus link up hitherto separate markets or create totally new ones. Governments need to work closely with each other. Wherever possible, we should harmonise IT policies and remove obstacles to linking up different economies. Only then can our people and businesses benefit fully from IT's enormous potential. This MOU we are signing is a useful step by our two countries in this direction.

6. Finally let me congratulate all participants who have worked hard to bring this MOU about, and thank Deputy Prime Minister Fischer for his commitment to the co-operation.