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Iswaran visits Paris to deepen France-Singapore innovation and technology links

MINISTER-IN-CHARGE of Trade Relations S Iswaran is visiting Paris this week as part of the France-Singapore Year of Innovation 2018, which aims to ramp up innovation and research linkages between the two countries.

The minister will be in Paris from May 22 to 25. His key engagements in Paris include bilateral meetings with French government officials, public speaking events as well as an innovation and technology festival.

Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister for Communications and Information, will also meet with counterparts overseeing the communications and information portfolios.

Mr Iswaran will meet French government officials to reaffirm Singapore's commitment to working closely with the European Union towards the smooth and swift ratification of the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA).

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Singapore government officials have previously stated that the EUSFTA can be "a pathfinder" towards an eventual EU-Asean FTA.

The EU is the largest foreign investor in Singapore, accounting for close to S$341 billion and about a quarter of the total foreign direct investment here in 2016.

On May 24, Mr Iswaran will visit Viva Technology (VivaTech), a three-day tech and innovation festival in Paris with showcases from around the world.

The event will bring together 80,000 attendees, 8,000 startups and 1,400 investors from 103 countries.

At VivaTech, Mr Iswaran will participate in a joint dialogue with France's Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal.

He will also deliver the keynote speech at a conference about Singapore's role as an artificial intelligence and deep tech hub in Asia - held in conjunction with VivaTech and organised by Enterprise Singapore, Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) and SGInnovate.

"Singapore and France share deep linkages in research and development, and synergies between our innovation ecosystems in many areas, and we will continue to strengthen these ties and deepen collaborations," said Mr Iswaran.

"With an excellent startup ecosystem and strong connections within Asia, Singapore is well positioned as a launchpad for French and European companies looking to expand into the region."

France is Singapore's second largest trading partner in the EU and the 16th largest globally. Total trade with France last year was close to S$17 billion.

More than 1,900 French companies were based in Singapore as at last year.