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Singapore, China ink deals on trade, BRI

Singapore, China ink deals on trade, BRI

BEIJING • Singapore and China signed five agreements yesterday, strengthening further their collaboration on trade, law enforcement and projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) sealed two new partnerships. In one, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong agreed to set up a ministerial-level Singapore-Shanghai Comprehensive Cooperation Council.

It will be a platform for both sides to cooperate in six areas: the Belt and Road; financial services; technology and innovation; ease of doing business; urban governance; and people-to-people exchanges.

Incoming deputy prime minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Mr Ying will co-chair the council, while Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong and Shanghai’s Vice-Mayor Xu Kunlin will be deputy co-chairs.

Enterprise Singapore and Shanghai’s Foreign Affairs Office will be its secretariats.

The first meeting is on May 24 in Shanghai.

While the council is the eighth business panel Singapore has with China, it is Shanghai’s first comprehensive institutionalised platform with a foreign country, said an MTI statement.

Mr Chan also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with vice-chair Zhang Yong of China’s state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, on an implementation framework for cooperation in third-party markets.

The agreement, taking further an MOU signed in April last year, identifies logistics, e-commerce, infrastructure and professional services such as financial and legal services, as areas for collaboration in third-party markets under the BRI.

“As China enters its next phase of economic transformation, these MOUs will strengthen Singapore’s participation in China’s new growth strategies to mutual benefit. The newly established Singapore-Shanghai Comprehensive Cooperation Council will help to anchor Singapore’s engagements of China’s key financial and business hub, and tap the economic integration of the Yangtze River Delta,” said Mr Chan in a statement.