SINGAPORE - Singapore and Jiangsu will deepen their economic partnership and advance the Belt and Road Initiative, as they create more opportunities for their companies to venture into third-party markets, trade and logistics and financial services.
This was discussed at the 12th Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council (SJCC) meeting on Tuesday (Nov 20) where 13 agreements were inked to drive cooperation and create working opportunities between businesses on the two sides.
The meeting at the Shangri-La hotel was co-chaired by Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat and Jiangsu Governor Wu Zhenglong.
Over 160 Singapore and Jiangsu government and business representatives attended the council meeting.
Last year, Singapore's total trade with Jiangsu was 78.4 billion yuan, a 15.7 per cent year-on-year increase. Singapore's investment in Jiangsu province rose 20 per cent year on year to 8.3 billion yuan in 2017. For the first half of 2018, Singapore's total cumulative investment in Jiangsu stood at 189.4 billion yuan. Jiangsu now accounts for approximately 30 per cent of Singapore's investment in China.
In his opening speech at the meeting, Mr Heng said: "Singapore is committed to partner Jiangsu in supporting China's economic priorities. The Belt and Road Initiative is a strategic initiative by China to strengthen its linkages and integration with the region and the world. It will be a major area of cooperation in the coming years. Singapore is an early supporter in this initiative."
To deepen cooperation, Mr Heng said both countries need to enhance trade and port connectivity to promote the flow of goods, services and capital.
"This will help to support a rules-based multi-lateral trading system, deepen trade and investment relations, and maintain peace and stability," he said.
To grow opportunities in trade and financial services, Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee (SIPAC) signed four agreements with the Singapore Exchange, DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank, to promote collaborations in fintech and facilitate investments into Singapore and Jiangsu.
Phillip Capital Management also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bank of Suzhou to establish an onshore fund management joint venture in Suzhou Industrial Park, bringing best international practices and service offerings to Jiangsu.
Besides these moves, Singapore can also be a springboard for companies to venture into third-party markets especially in South-east Asia, Mr Heng said.
"Enterprises can leverage Singapore's position as a financial hub and strengths of our professional services cluster and partner Singapore companies, to enter the growing Asean market and broader region."
To this end, Enterprise Singapore inked an agreement with SIPAC to facilitate more partnerships between Singapore and Suzhou enterprises to develop third-party market collaboration along the Belt and Road. Enterprise Singapore will also connect Jiangsu enterprises to relevant Singapore partners in legal, financial and other professional services.
In addition, Sembcorp will partner the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development (CSSD) to develop industrial parks in South-east Asia.