Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong has hoped that economic growth of the country is expected to be at the upper end of the 2 to 3 per cent range this year. He was addressing over 250 Singaporeans during a reception held in his honour at the Singaporean embassy in Washington on Sunday.
The Prime Minister is presently on a visit to the United States on an invitation of US president Donald Trump.
PM Lee said, “The third quarter (economic growth) results look good and I hope it will continue.”
Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) has recently released advance estimates according to which Singapore’s economy expanded 4.6 per cent in the third quarter from a year ago.
The Prime Minister observed that the manufacturing and services sectors have been performing well this year.
While speaking about the construction sector, he said, “While there have been contractions in the construction sector, it could expand if there is demand. The construction side, if we need to build more, we can build more. Construction is one area where we don’t expect continuous expansion. We just want to keep it at a stable level so that is cyclical rather than structural.”
Speaking on the services sector which incorporates logistics, healthcare, personal services and others, he said, “It is very hard to make a sudden transformation.”
PM Lee also spoke on the industrial transformation maps. He informed that the government is developing 23 industrial transformation maps for the various sectors to drive economic transformation.
He said, “I think there is going to be a lot of work. It is not easy to do. But it can be done. If we persist at it, I think we can improve our performance.”
He added, “That means we can get better jobs for our people, better assurance for our people that they would be able to have jobs, and good jobs – either in the same industry or if they move to another sector and another business.”
Speaking on the relationship between Singapore and US, PM Lee said, “The Republic has a wide-ranging relationship with the United States, encompassing defence and business to culture and the arts.
He added, “This goes on whoever is in the White House and in the administration or which (political) party is in the administration. It is important for us to establish working relationships with the key people in every administration, to get them to know us, to understand them, to appreciate their perspectives, to be able to work together and to take the relationship forward.”
Singaporean Prime Minister arrived in Washington, DC on October 21. He will be there until October 26 for an official working visit.
Later today, PM Lee will hold talks with US President Donald Trump at the Oval Office, and be hosted by the American leader to a bilateral working lunch together with Cabinet Secretaries and key White House officials.
Both leaders will also hold a joint press conference and witness the signing of a deal between Singapore Airlines and Boeing for the national carrier to buy 39 new planes. The deal will be worth USD13.8 billion (SGD18.7 billion).
PM Lee is accompanied by a high level team of Ministers including Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran and Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung.