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Speech By Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister And Minister For Finance For The Signing Ceremony Of The Avoidance Of Double Taxation Agreement Between Singapore And Kuwait On 21 Feb 2002

01 Mar 2002

HE Dr Yousif Al Ibrahim Minister of Finance of the State of Kuwait

Ladies and Geltlemen

1. It is my pleasure to welcome Your Excellency to Singapore and to this signing ceremony.

2. The signing of this Agreement is another reflection of the friendly relations between our two countries. Since Singapore and Kuwait established diplomatic relations in 1985, we have strengthened our bilateral ties. In international fora, Kuwait often provides active support for Singa-pore, and vice versa. We are both small countries, we both need to protect our interests in an uncertain world, and we both appreciate the importance of working with other countries to maximise our influence and effectiveness.

3. Bilateral trade between our two countries has been rising over the past 10 years. Kuwait is an important source of crude petroleum for Singa-pore. Kuwait''s expanding market for finished goods offers potential for Singapore''s exports. And Singapore has been actively encouraging businessmen to look for opportunities outside Singapore, and build our external economy. Singapore businesses can participate in Kuwait''s growing economy by providing technology, talent and expertise. Similarly, businesses from Kuwait can use Singapore as a source for finished products, technology and expertise. Each country can leverage on the strengths of the other, for mutual benefit.

4. These positive developments mean that more business income derived from bilateral trade and investments could be subjected to double taxation, because of different tax laws prevailing in both countries. Double taxation would hinder the growth of our economic relations. This Agreement will eliminate double taxation, through each country recognising the tax paid by its residents in the other country. It will make clear the taxing rights of Singapore and Kuwait on all forms of income arising from cross-border economic activities between our countries, and provide greater tax certainty for our businessmen.

5. Today's signing of this Agreement for the avoidance of double taxation marks another important milestone in our excellent bilateral relations. I am confident that this Agreement will further promote greater cross-flow of trade, investment, technology and expertise between Singapore and Kuwait, to the benefit of both our peoples. I therefore have pleasure to join you in signing the Agreement.