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Singapore PM to visit

12 June 2006

Singapore PM to visit

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong will arrive in New Zealand this weekend for an official five-day visit.

“Singapore plays a critical role in South East Asia’s economic and political relations, and is a prominent member of the Association of South East Asian Nations and the East Asia Summit. Singapore is a close friend of New Zealand. I look forward to exchanging views with Prime Minister Lee on our countries' close bilateral relationship and on regional issues,” Helen Clark said.

“Prime Minister Lee’s visit to New Zealand follows his recent election for a second term as Prime Minister. He visited New Zealand briefly en route to APEC in Chile in 2004, but this will be his first substantial visit as Prime Minister.

“Singapore and New Zealand have a long standing relationship, underpinned by excellent ties in defence, education and trade. Singapore is New Zealand’s second largest defence partner following Australia, with annual exercises conducted between the two defence forces. There are also new developments in our relationship in research, science and technology, and the creative industries.

"Singapore was New Zealand’s eighth largest bilateral trading partner in the year to December 2005 with trade totalling $1.66 billion. The newly negotiated Trans Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (which brings together New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Chile) will sit alongside our bilateral CEP with Singapore.

“Prime Minister Lee's visit is an opportunity to focus on the economic relationship between New Zealand and Singapore, which spans trade and investment and which sees Singapore as the hub for many New Zealand businesses in Asian markets.

Prime Minister Lee arrives on Saturday 17 June, and leaves on Wednesday 21 June. During his visit he will meet the New Zealand Cabinet on Monday 19 June, and be hosted to an official Parliamentary luncheon.

ENDS

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