IE Singapore inks MOU to help Singapore firms expand presence in Sichuan (Chengdu) Free Trade Zone

SINGAPORE - International Enterprise (IE) Singapore on Wednesday (June 28) signed a framework agreement with the Commission of Commerce of Chengdu to help Singapore companies expand their presence in Sichuan (Chengdu) Free Trade Zone (FTZ).

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) specifically targets areas in trade and logistics, financial and professional services, and Information Technology (IT) and Innovation.

IE Singapore is the first foreign government agency to partner Chengdu's Commission of Commerce on the FTZ, following China's announcement on its third batch of seven FTZs, which includes Sichuan (Chengdu).

The MOU is the result of IE Singapore's close consultation with the Chengdu local authorities and further enhances the strong economic relations established by the Singapore-Sichuan Trade and Investment Committee (SSTIC) co-chaired by Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, said IE Singapore in a statement.

Building on the SSTIC's work over the years, the MOU will explore collaboration beyond modern services, modern living and modern manufacturing. It will also benefit the Singapore-Sichuan Hi-Tech Innovation Park (SSCIP), which is situated in the FTZ and focuses on hi-tech and services industries.

IE Singapore chief executive officer Lee Ark Boon, who is currently leading a Singapore business delegation on a two-day mission to Chengdu, noted that Singapore was the Sichuan province capital city's second largest foreign investor in 2016.

"IE Singapore's FTZ partnership builds on these existing close ties with Chengdu. As its market liberalises, we see potential for new partnerships and deeper knowledge exchange between Singapore and Chinese companies.

"Through our MOU, we hope to make it easier for more Singapore companies to engage the local authorities and access business opportunities."

In its statement, IE Singapore said it will work closely with Chengdu's Commission of Commerce on:

  • Promotion of trade and logistics services, which will enhance air, rail and road connectivity;
  • Promotion of financial services, especially company listing and risk assessment;
  • Promotion of trade in services;
  • Industry and IT development, especially technology transfer and talent exchange programmes; and
  • Promotion of hi-tech and services industries by leveraging the SSCIP.

Singapore companies have shown strong interests in Chengdu over the years.

The number of Singapore projects grew from over 280 in 2011 to over 430 in 2016, spanning infrastructure, transport and logistics, food services, technology, finance and education.

Examples of Singapore's business interests in Chengdu include Memiontec and Ademco setting up their regional offices in the city to provide water and security solutions respectively.

VeriTAG has also set foot in Raffles City Chengdu, bringing 18 Singapore food brands such as Nanyang Old Coffee and Fassler Gourmet to the city through veriHUB, its one-stop solution platform comprising food caravans and vending machines.