Singapore FM Yeo arrived in Israel on an official visit – the first visit to Israel by a Singapore foreign minister.
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Mr. George Yeo, Foreign Minister of Singapore, arrived in Israel on Saturday, April 28 on a five-day official visit at the invitation of Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni. This is the first visit to Israel by a Singapore foreign minister.
Singapore and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1965, and the two countries have since maintained a warm and cordial relationship. In recent years there has been a significant increase in the economic-commercial, scientific and cultural cooperation between the two countries.
The economic and commercial ties between the two countries are well developed. Trade is balanced and in 2006 amounted to $844 million. Last year, Israel exports to Singapore amounted to $410.3 million (an increase of 15.8%). These consisted predominantly of hi-tech products and medical equipment. Imports from Singapore last year reached $433.5 million (an increase of 31%), and consisted mainly of electronic equipment and appliances.
Since Israel and Singapore suffer from a similar lack of natural resources, both countries emphasize development of human resources and science and technology. Bilateral cooperation in the fields of industrial research and development is extensive and continuously increasing. The two countries have operated a joint R&D fund (Singapore-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation – SIIRD) since 1997. Investment organizations in Singapore have a diverse investment portfolio in a range of Israeli venture funds.
Foreign Minister Yeo is accompanied by a delegation of some twenty business-people, including representatives of leading commercial companies and heads of economic organizations. The delegation will conduct a business seminar and hold meetings at the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute.
Within the framework of the meeting between Foreign Minister Yeo and Foreign Minister Livni, the two dignitaries will sign a cultural treaty between Singapore and Israel. The treaty will encourage cultural cooperation between the two countries and will increase the exposure of the peoples of each country to the culture of the other.
Foreign Minister Yeo has served as Foreign Minister since 2004 and visited Israel in 2003, in his previous capacity as Minister of Trade and Industry.