Forum to focus on cooperation along Belt and Road

With the total investment by China in Belt and Road countries since 2013 surpassing US$50 billion (S$68 billion), business leaders and top-level participants from government and academia will gather to discuss the issues of trade connectivity and collaborative opportunities tomorrow.

In terms of revenue, the total amount has reached US$75.97 billion last year, an increase of 9.7 per cent year on year, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) noted.

To date, 56 economic and trade cooperation zones have been built by Chinese businesses, generating nearly US$1.1 billion in tax revenue and creating 180,000 jobs.

More than 600 representatives from 43 countries and regions are expected at the Singapore Regional Business Forum to be held at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia.

Nearly 40 business leaders and industry experts from the region will be sharing their insights on investment and financing-related opportunities, the implementation of such projects, as well as regional connectivity and joint collaboration along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The Singapore Regional Business Forum had its inaugural session in 2015. Since then it has grown to be an important forum for experts in the region to discuss the issues.

This year's forum will focus on seizing business opportunities through regional cooperation along the Belt and Road, in particular the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It will highlight the importance of joint and third-country collaboration for these projects, and reinforce Singapore's role as a connector to promote regional and multi-party cooperation to maximise the benefits of the initiative.

Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong will be delivering a keynote speech at the forum to share more insights on the ongoing engagements between Singapore and China.

The opening keynote address will be given by former chief economist of the World Bank, Mr Justin Yifu Lin.

Three Memorandums of Understanding to spur regional connectivity and collaboration are expected to be inked during the forum.

There will also be a presentation of findings of the inaugural Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) regional business survey, conducted by SBF in partnership with The Economist Corporate Network. The survey polled about 100 regional C-suite-level business leaders on their perceptions with regard to the BRI's opportunities, risks, challenges and future expectations.

At least US$113 billion in extra funding was announced by President Xi Jinping in his opening speech at a two-day Belt & Road Forum in Beijing in May.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2017, with the headline 'Forum to focus on cooperation along Belt and Road'. Print Edition | Subscribe