Singapore, Chongqing working to keep trade links open amid Covid-19 pandemic: Chan Chun Sing

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo meeting Chongqing Party Secretary Chen Min'er over video conference on May 12, 2020. PHOTO: CHAN CHUN SING/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Singapore is working closely with the Chinese city of Chongqing to keep supply chains open amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Tuesday (May 12).

Writing on Facebook after he and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo met the city's party secretary, Mr Chen Min'er, and mayor Tang Liangzhi over video conferencing, Mr Chan said both sides also discussed ways to progressively resume travel.

"We agreed on the importance of keeping supply chains open during this difficult period, noting that flights between Singapore and Chongqing continued to operate, as well as discussed ways to progressively resume movement of our people with a common set of standards and protocols," said Mr Chan.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global supply chains and led countries to shut their borders, raising concerns over food security and the supply of essential goods.

During the call, both sides also inked eight agreements in areas including financial services, trade in food products, transport and logistics.

This was the fifth Joint Implementation Committee meeting for the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI), the third joint project between Singapore and China. Mrs Teo co-chairs the CCI along with her Chinese counterpart Mr Tang.

Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the meeting was held virtually, over a 260Gbps data link set up by telcos from both sides.

Chongqing is a strategic node on China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A key part of the CCI is a rail link - the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (CCI-ILSTC) - that connects the overland and maritime trunks of the BRI together.

Mrs Teo said on Facebook that both sides discussed how the CCI-ILSTC network could be strengthened, and agreed that "it has proven to be an effective new trade route for the flow of essential goods such as food and medical products between South-East Asia and western China".

Mr Chan said it was "an increasingly important trade route for... mitigating disruption due to Covid-19".

Both sides also discussed ways to deepen collaboration in areas including information and communications technology, financial services, aviation, transport and logistics, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a statement.

The MTI also said that the leaders had reaffirmed the "strong, broad-based ties between Singapore and Chongqing".

Mr Chan said on Facebook that they had also exchanged views on restarting the economy and maintaining financial stability between and within their markets during this period.

He added that Singapore had also provided an update on its efforts to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.

"Singapore and China are important economic partners, and we remain committed to strengthening the CCI-ILSTC with Chongqing to ensure the resilience of our supply chains and connectivity networks," he said.

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