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Taylor Swift concert: Singapore Prime Minister says exclusive deal with singer not a hostile act to neighbours

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated on Thursday that reaching a deal with singer Taylor Swift to make the country her only stop in Southeast Asia during the Eras Tour was not a hostile act towards its neighbors. Prime Minister Loong mentioned that it was an incentive provided to the American singer.

The exclusive deal with Swift not to perform in any other Southeast Asian country has angered Singapore‘s neighboring nations.

“(Our) agencies negotiated an arrangement with her to come to Singapore and perform and to make Singapore her only stop in Southeast Asia. It has turned out to be a very successful arrangement. I don’t see that as being unfriendly,” the Prime Minister said.

Swift is performing six sold-out shows in Singapore.

Though the Prime Minister confirmed that Swift was provided with “certain incentives”, he did not reveal the cost of the exclusive deal.

Singapore’s neighboring countries have come out criticizing that the deal deprives them of the tourism boom her concerts bring to hosts. Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin accused Singapore of paying a hefty sum to keep Swift away and claimed that they subsidized the concerts with around $2 million to $3 million per show with exclusive conditions.

Filipino lawmakers also called the deal unfair and said this “isn’t what good neighbors do”.

Last month, Singapore’s Tourism Board and Culture Ministry referred to the economic benefits brought by Swift’s concerts around the world due to her popularity and said the ministry had worked with concert promoter AEG Presents to get Swift to perform in Singapore.

Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno, then, took to Instagram to apologize to Swift’s fans, saying: “International music events, such as Taylor Swift concerts, do have a big impact on a country’s economy. But I’m sorry Swifties, Taylor Swift hasn’t stopped by in Indonesia yet. Bought out by Singapore. However, this is a lesson for us.”

Swift’s team has not made any statements about the Singapore concerts.

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