June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Salceda to DFA: Ask SG envoy to explain ‘exclusivity deal’ for Taylor Swift concert

HOUSE Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) requested the Department of Foreign Affairs to send a note verbale to the Singaporean Embassy to request an explanation for the alleged exclusivity terms in the grant given by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to AEG Presents, the production company that presented the concert of international pop star Taylor Swift. Salceda said that the alleged terms, which supposedly prevented AEG from bringing the concert in other Southeast Asian countries, if true, “isn’t what good neighbors do.” 

“Some 3 million USD in grants were allegedly given by the Singapore government to AEG to host the concert in Singapore. The catch was that they do not host it elsewhere in the region,” Salceda said. 

The allegation was made public by Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who said that the grant was offered on the condition that there be no other stops in the Southeast Asian leg of Swift’s concert tour. 

“I give it to them that the policy worked. Regional demand for Singaporean hotels and airlines was up 30 percent over the period. I estimate that the exclusivity term caused an increase in industry revenues by USD 60 million. So, the grant produced 30 times more in economic activity.”

“But it was at the expense of neighboring countries, which could not attract their own foreign concert goers, and whose fans had to go to Singapore.” 

“I doubt the exclusivity terms were on the grant contract itself,” Salceda said. 

“But I don’t think we should just let things like this pass. We should still officially register our opposition.”

“It also runs contrary to the principle of consensus-based relations and solidarity on which the ASEAN was founded.” 

“So, I think the DFA should send a note verbale to our counterparts in Singapore. Our countries are good friends. That’s why actions like that hurt.”

“I think it’s also one example of the evolving nature of trade in services that we need to discuss with our neighbors, perhaps as enhancements to the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement.”

“In the long run though, we need to up our game. That is what agencies like the Tourism Promotions Board were made for,” Salceda said.