S'pore confident of China's economic reforms: Ambassador

SPECIAL FRIENDS: Singapore and China are not just close friends, but also 'learning partners'... We look forward to working closely with our Chinese friends to take our special friendship to the next level in 2017. - MR STANLEY LOH (above), Singapore
SPECIAL FRIENDS: Singapore and China are not just close friends, but also 'learning partners'... We look forward to working closely with our Chinese friends to take our special friendship to the next level in 2017. - MR STANLEY LOH (above), Singapore's Ambassador to China.

Singapore is confident that China can successfully transform its economy, and its success will benefit the world, Singapore's Ambassador to China Stanley Loh has said.

The Republic also welcomes China's efforts to play a greater role in global governance, such as through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the "Belt and Road" initiative, Mr Loh said, in an interview with Xinhua news agency on the sidelines of China's ongoing top political meetings.

He noted that China's 6.7 per cent gross domestic product growth last year was achieved against a backdrop of economic headwinds and just a few years after its leadership made bold plans to remake its economy to become more sustainable and dependent on strong domestic consumption.

"I believe that Chinese leaders know what needs to be done. I am confident that China will succeed," he said. "This would put China on track for another phase of stellar growth, which would be beneficial to the region and the world."

Asked about the rising trend of trade protectionism around the world, Mr Loh said that nobody wins in a more isolationist world.

Both Singapore and China have benefited greatly from globalisation and regional trade integration, which makes it pressing for both countries to signal their commitment to these ideals with action.

One way is by working to bring the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) - a regional trade liberalisation agreement - to fruition, he said.

Mr Loh added that there are many areas in which Singapore and China can further mutual cooperation, such as e-commerce, education and tourism.

China's strong emphasis on promoting sustainable development and the Chinese people's growing awareness about environment protection also mean that there is "tremendous scope" to develop green industries in China and tap Singapore's experience in water management, said Mr Loh.

"Singapore and China are not just close friends, but also 'learning partners'," he said.

"Building on our strong foundations, we look forward to working closely with our Chinese friends to take our special friendship to the next level in 2017."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore confident of China's economic reforms: Ambassador'. Print Edition | Subscribe