SINGAPORE – Singapore and Thailand have agreed to speed up discussions on setting up a reciprocal green lane for essential business travel between them, said Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday (Aug 26).

The two Asean nations also had productive talks on strengthening the resilience of supply chains and connectivity networks during the meeting done via video-conferencing, added the ministry in its statement.

Held on Wednesday, the discussion during the Singapore-Thailand Political Consultations was co-chaired by the permanent secretaries of their foreign ministries: Mr Chee Wee Kiong of Singapore and Mrs Busaya Mathelin of Thailand.

The Singapore ministry said both sides “agreed to expedite ongoing discussions to facilitate essential business travel through a reciprocal green lane arrangement, with the necessary public health safeguards, between the two countries”.

The arrangement allows travel for essential business and official purposes between the two countries. Those eligible will have to abide by such measures as taking Covid-19 swab tests and submitting their itineraries.

The bilateral talks also emphasised the importance of intensifying cooperation with Asean’s partners through the promotion of research and development on vaccines and medicines, said the Singapore ministry.

In addition, they support Asean’s efforts to “fight the pandemic, keep our economies open and connected, and establish a framework to deal with future public health emergencies”, it added.

The statement further said that both sides shared timely information and experiences on combating Covid-19, and mutually contributed medical supplies, equipment and Covid-19 diagnostic test kits.

They also reviewed the progress in bilateral cooperation in various areas, including trade and investment, defence, finance, education and people-to-people ties between them.

Singapore is also considering reciprocal green lane arrangements with other regional countries, such as Indonesia and Japan.

Last month, Singapore agreed to implement such an arrangement with Malaysia to facilitate short-term essential business and official travel between them for up to 14 days.

Correction note: An earlier version of the report said that the permanent secretary of Thailand’s foreign ministry is Mr Busaya Mathelin. This is incorrect. It should be Mrs Busaya Mathelin. We are sorry for the error.