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1. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, is on an Official Visit to Singapore from 7 to 9 May 2018. During his visit, Minister Nunes Ferreira called on the Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, and had meetings with Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran.

2. During their meetings, both sides welcomed the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brazil and Singapore in 2017. Both sides also agreed to continue regular high-level political dialogue, as well as more frequent and active exchanges between their respective ministries and agencies to further develop the bilateral relationship. On behalf of President Michel Temer, Minister Nunes Ferreira also conveyed an invitation for President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee to visit Brazil.

3. The Ministers welcomed the growing trade and investment cooperation between Brazil and Singapore. In 2017, trade in goods amounted to US$ 3.4 billion, making Brazil Singapore’s 3rd largest trading partner in Latin America. Brazil is currently Singapore’s largest source of frozen chicken, frozen beef, and frozen pork. Since 2004, bilateral trade in services has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 33.9%, amounting to US$ 1.7 billion in 2016. Bilateral investment has also been growing steadily.

4. Minister Nunes Ferreira welcomed Singapore’s investments in Brazil. Singapore companies are active participants across critical sectors in Brazil, including oil and gas, infrastructure, real estate, agriculture, and transport. Minister Nunes Ferreira also welcomed Singapore’s interest in exploring opportunities in sectors such as data analytics, financial technology (fintech), e-commerce, and education. Recognising Brazil’s position as a leading innovation hub in Latin America and the advanced capabilities of Singapore technology companies, both sides encouraged greater collaboration between Brazilian and Singapore companies in the area of technology. Singapore’s Ministers also invited more Brazilian companies to establish their Asian operations in Singapore to tap the growth opportunities in ASEAN and the larger Asian region.

5. To further facilitate bilateral trade and investment cooperation between Singapore and Brazil, a comprehensive bilateral Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) was signed in Singapore on 7 May 2018. Both sides also welcomed Singapore’s removal from Brazil’s list of low tax jurisdictions, and looked forward to the early ratification of the DTA.

6. Recognising the importance of achieving deeper trade relations, both countries welcomed initial discussions on a free trade agreement between Singapore and MERCOSUR and committed to work towards launching a first round of negotiations in the third quarter of 2018. The MERCOSUR member states – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay – make up a market of more than 260 million people with a combined GDP of US$ 2.5 trillion. The free trade agreement will promote greater trade and investment between the MERCOSUR member states and Singapore by creating more favourable business conditions among the parties.

7. The Ministers also agreed on the importance of increasing cooperation and exchanges in the fields of education, intellectual property and innovation, research, science and technology, wildlife conservation, and tourism. In this context, both sides welcomed greater collaboration in these sectors through:

• The Agreement on Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports, which came into force on Saturday, 5 May 2018. This will complement an earlier Agreement on Partial Exemption of Visa Requirements for Ordinary Passport Holders, which came into force in January 2014. These agreements will allow passport holders from both countries visa-free access to each other for business and tourism purposes for a period of up to 30 days.

• The Memorandum of Agreement signed in July 2016 between Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, and other international partners to support the reintroduction of the critically endangered Spix’s Macaw back into the wild. By hosting the three remaining blue macaw species native to Brazil – the Spix’s Macaw, Lear’s Macaw, and Hyacinth Macaw – Jurong Bird Park contributes to raising awareness of the illegal wildlife trade and the importance of protecting wildlife.

• An Agreement between the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore (HSA) and the Health Regulatory Agency of Brazil (ANVISA) in October 2016, which will facilitate the exchange of information and expertise on areas of mutual interest pertaining to the regulation of health products.

• The visit by Luiz Otávio Pimentel, President of Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (INPI), Brazil’s intellectual property agency, to Singapore in May 2018 to discuss developments in intellectual property and innovation and explore possible areas of cooperation with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), as well as with start-up and innovation centres.

• The planned visit of Brazil’s Minister of Education, Rossieli Soares Silva, to Singapore in the second half of 2018 to get acquainted with educational policies for secondary schools and explore partnerships for teacher training and the promotion of youth leadership.

8. Singapore congratulated Brazil on the successful completion of its Pro Tempore Presidency of MERCOSUR in December 2017, during which Brazil contributed to the promotion of closer ties between MERCOSUR and ASEAN, including through the 2nd ASEAN-MERCOSUR Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in New York in September 2017. On behalf of President Michel Temer, Minister Nunes Ferreira offered Brazil’s full support for Singapore’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2018, and expressed Brazil’s support to continue deepening ties with ASEAN, and expanding cooperation in areas such as trade and commerce, tourism, connectivity, innovation, sustainable development, and people-to-people links.

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