SINGAPORE - Bilateral trade between Singapore and the Shandong province in eastern China grew to US$3 billion (S$4.1 billion) in the first eight months this year, a 105 per cent increase compared with a year ago.
Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Chee Hong Tat noted the figures in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Sept 23) as he urged Singapore firms to continue investing in the coastal area.
Mr Chee said the strong economic ties Singapore shares with Shandong have allowed companies here to "to quickly source for essentials like medical supplies and food when Covid-19 disrupted some of our supply chains earlier this year".
"Singapore and Shandong can build on this momentum and further strengthen our collaboration in the areas of trade and connectivity, modern services, sustainability and people-to-people exchanges," Mr Chee said, after his dialogue with Shandong Provincial Party Secretary Liu Jia Yi at the Shandong-Asean Cross Border Business Connect event on Tuesday (Sept 22).
Mr Chee said he and Mr Liu "encouraged Singapore companies to continue investing in Shandong (and) for Shandong companies to grow their presence in Singapore and expand into South-east Asia by using Singapore as a regional hub".
He added that he will focus on identifying new growth opportunities for Singapore and Shandong companies as co-chair of the Singapore-Shandong Business Council meeting in November.
Another priority is to improve "people-to-people linkages when the situation allows, so that we can both emerge stronger from this pandemic".
An Enterprise Singapore (ESG) statement last year (2019) said that a potential area for growth between Shandong and Singapore is in trading food products.
"Shandong is the leading agricultural province in China, and the top exporter of agricultural produce to Singapore among the Chinese provinces," the statement said, adding that key products exported to Singapore include apples, pears and Chinese cabbages.
"There is opportunity for Singapore traders and distributors to import a wider range of produce from Shandong that are in demand in Singapore, especially premium fruits and vegetables such as cherries and black garlic," the ESG statement said.