President of the French Republic Francois Hollande, who is on a State Visit to Singapore, met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today. PM Lee hosted lunch thereafter.

PM Lee and President Hollande reviewed the substantial and broad-based relations between Singapore and France. They welcomed the strong progress in the bilateral relationship since the signing of the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership in 2012. This included an expansion in trade, defence, culture, security, cyber-security, as well as education and research ties. PM Lee thanked President Hollande for France's hosting of the RSAF's Advanced Jet Training detachment in Cazaux, which will mark its 20th anniversary in 2018.

PM Lee and President Hollande supported greater collaboration in innovation. In this regard, they welcomed the Joint Declaration of Innovation issued in conjunction with the visit.[1] 2018 will be the France-Singapore Year of Innovation. The leaders also agreed that the ratification of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement will bring benefits for both countries, and help to strengthen ties between the two countries and regions. They noted that Singapore and France share common views on the importance of free trade and remaining outward-looking. They also exchanged views on regional and international developments. Following the meeting, PM Lee and President Hollande witnessed the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and agreements.

Earlier this morning, President Hollande delivered an opening address at the Singapore-France Innovation Forum at Biopolis, alongside Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The Forum, jointly organised by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the French Embassy in Singapore, provided a platform for companies, start-ups and research institutions to profile bilateral cooperation in the areas of Aerospace, Smart Cities, Fintech, as well as Health and Biomedical Sciences.

President Hollande also delivered the 40th Singapore Lecture, titled France and Singapore, Strategic Partners in a Fast-Changing World, moderated by DPM Tharman. In addition, President Hollande, together with Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, officiated the launch of the joint venture between CMA-CGM and PSA to operate four mega container berths at the new Pasir Panjang Terminal Phases 3 and 4 in Singapore. Earlier today, he visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens where an orchid, Dendrobium Francois Hollande, was named in his honour.

President Hollande departs Singapore this evening.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore