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Crown Prince of Liechtenstein visits NUS

1 July 2013

Prince Alois spoke on the chances and challenges of Liechtenstein

Prince Alois and Prof Tan (right) sharing a light-hearted moment
NUS received His Serene Highness Hereditary Prince Alois von und zu Liechtenstein and his distinguished delegation on 28 June 2013. Members of the university community were privileged to hear Prince Alois speak on the chances and challenges of Liechtenstein, a country situated between Switzerland and Austria.

Welcoming Prince Alois, NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Professor Tan Eng Chye said that both Liechtenstein and Singapore shared striking similarities in terms of their land sizes and small economies which are highly developed, open and globalised. To remain connected to the world, he noted that the two countries "cannot be insulated" and instead need to be "nimble, flexible and seize opportunities for prosperity".

This was echoed by Prince Alois, who said that since World War II, globalisation has offered prospects for the landlocked country by means of tariffs and free trade agreements. He added that he sees the opportunity in a knowledge-based economy where speed is more important than size.

Currently, the pillars of Liechtenstein's economy are in the financial and industrial sectors.

How did Liechtenstein become a wealthy country? Responding to the question posed by Mr Tan Keng Soon of the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation, Prince Alois pointed out that it was owing to a range of factors. Located in a strong economic region with countries such as Switzerland, Austria and Germany, Liechtenstein is able to benefit from trade within and outside of Europe.

In addition, Liechtenstein offers an excellent business environment with an attractive tax system and an educated workforce, coupled with political and economic stability.

As to how the country found its niche markets, Prince Alois highlighted the efforts of his grandfather, Prince Franz Josef II, to spur the economic, social and cultural progress of Liechtenstein. He also stressed the good relations with its neighbouring countries which brought investments.

Asked by Associate Professor Barnard Turner, Academic Convenor, European Studies of the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as to how Singapore and Liechtenstein can work together, Prince Alois said that smaller states can collaborate on issues of similar interests and bring these to the fore during international discussions. At the university level, this could spell exchange programmes between institutions from the two countries.

During his three-day visit to Singapore, Prince Alois met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Singapore President Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, sharing avenues for strengthening bilateral cooperation. He was the Guest-of-Honour at the official opening of the Liechtenstein's Consulate on 27 June. An exhibition is also currently being held at the National Museum of Singapore, showcasing 91 artworks from the Princely Collection of Liechtenstein.