On 30 June 2022, the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MTI”) announced (“press release”) that Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong and Malaysia Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (collectively, “Ministers”) had agreed to begin discussions on Frameworks of Cooperation in the digital economy and green economy, with a view to concluding the Frameworks this year.
The press release notes that the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of digital connectivity and accelerated the digital transformation of traditional business models, prompting Singapore and Malaysia to seek to foster greater interoperability and collaboration. Similarly, the challenges of climate change and sustainability were acknowledged and a commitment to work together towards a low-carbon future was made. Possible areas for partnership given included efforts to decarbonise industries and enable businesses to seize opportunities in the green economy.
The Ministers recognised that the digital and green economies are key to sustainable and inclusive growth for both countries. The Frameworks of Cooperation would strengthen dialogue and cooperation in these areas and would serve as the basis for future bilateral cooperation initiatives in relation to the digital and green economies.
The Ministers also affirmed the strategic and economic significance of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (“IPEF”), to which both Singapore and Malaysia are members, as a valuable platform for the US to engage with the Asia-Pacific region and for countries to work together to strengthen the open and rules-based trade ecosystem. IPEF is an economic initiative launched by the US on 23 May 2022 and has 14 participating member states, representing 40% of the world’s GDP.