UK and Singapore sign MoU on a new green economy framework

Thu 2 Mar 2023
Posted by: Richard Cree
Trade News

Singapore skyline at night

The UK and Singapore yesterday (1 March) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a bilateral Green Economy Framework (GEF).

The agreement is the first of its kind for the UK and was signed during a virtual call between Grant Shapps, recently appointed Secretary of State for the new Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), and Mr S Iswaran, Singapore’s minister-in-charge of trade relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

The GEF builds on the successful UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and Digital Economy Agreement and will enable both countries to achieve national decarbonisation targets in line with the Paris Agreement, while also boosting energy security and promoting green growth through new investment, job creation and export opportunities.

This collaboration covers three key pillars  green transport, low-carbon energy technologies and sustainable finance and carbon markets.

The move follows a similar agreement signed last October between Singapore and Australia.

Driving green innovation

Shapps said, “Today’s agreement will make the most of the expertise and innovation of both countries. It will help us move towards greener, home-grown alternatives to fossil fuels like renewables, creating high-tech jobs and businesses of the future and, ultimately, bringing down costs for consumers.”

The British high commissioner to Singapore, Kara Owen, said that the GEF marked a significant milestone in the UK-Singapore partnership.

“In action, this Framework will leverage the UK and Singapore’s strengths in areas like low-carbon technology, shipping and finance to deliver long-term sustainable policy, regulation and technical solutions and projects between our private sector and academic communities.”

Marco Forgione, director general of the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT) welcomed the news.

“It is good to see the UK forging ahead in this vital area of the green economy through deals such as this. The Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore set a benchmark for how we can work with forward-looking economies around the world.

It is crucial, not only for the UK’s future growth and prosperity, but for the future of the planet, that the transition to a green economy happens as quickly and smoothly as possible. This agreement sets out a clear framework to allow that to happen.”

Two green economy leaders collaborating

In an interview with Bloomberg, Owen later added:

“We focus in as two leaders in climate tech, climate policy and regulation, in accelerating the green transition and decarbonising transport, and also in making sure that green finance, which is going to power all of this, is operating at the optimum [level].

“We’re predicting half a million jobs can come from the green economy in the UK. And the Singapore government has shown an interest in this area for the same reason. This is going to power jobs and growth going into the future.”

According to The Strait Times, the GEF will support collaborations between governments, academia and the business communities in both countries, through activities such as enterprise matching and co-innovation projects, as well as green capability development for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The UK is Singapore’s largest European investor and its second-largest investment destination in Europe. There is close to $130bn worth of British investment in Singapore, and almost $65bn worth of Singapore investment in the UK.

Iswaran said: “We look forward to catalysing green growth opportunities while also promoting decarbonisation, in partnership with our people, academia and businesses.”