Singapore business community welcomes third-party market collaboration with Chinese companies to seize business opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
- Companies from China and the region urged to leverage on Singapore’s capabilities in infrastructure, engineering, legal, financial and other professional services, to expand into Singapore and explore third-party markets along the BRI.
- The upgraded China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and China’s newly passed Foreign Investment Law will bring about closer and deeper cooperation between business communities in Singapore and China.
25 April 2019 [Singapore] - On behalf of the Singapore business community, Mr S.S. Teo, Chairman of Singapore Business Federation (SBF), urged companies from China and the region to leverage on Singapore’s strengths in logistics, shipping, finance, professional services and its established business networks to expand into the country and collaborate with Singapore businesses to explore opportunities in third-party markets along the pan-continental Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Speaking at the inaugural Belt and Road CEO Conference held on 25 April 2019 at the China National Convention Center in Beijing which was attended by over 800 global C-level executives, political leaders and business leaders, Mr Teo noted that Singapore was an early and strong supporter of the BRI, adding that close to 23% of China’s BRI-related foreign investment currently flows through Singapore.
Under the BRI, Singapore and China can cooperate closely in key areas such as regional connectivity, financial support, third-party collaboration, legal and judicial cooperation, Mr Teo added.
Billed as a platform for business matching, the inaugural Belt and Road CEO Conference is a new initiative introduced at the second edition of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (“BRF”) held from April 25 - 27. In conjunction with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s participation in the BRF, SBF led a high-level business delegation, comprising eight other prominent Singapore business leaders, (see Annex A for the delegation list) to Beijing this week.
Anticipated to exceed its predecessor in scale and representation, this year’s BRF will host nearly 40 head of states and close to 5,000 participants from 150 countries and 90 international organisations. The inaugural BRF last year was attended by 29 heads of state, government and business representatives from more than 130 countries and 70 international organisations.
Mr Teo highlighted that the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative (CCI) – New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (CCI-ILSTC), for which the two governments inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last November, is testament to the success of the strong Sino-Singapore bilateral trade and economic partnership under the BRI.
Formerly known as the CCI-Southern Transport Corridor, the new Corridor is a multimodal and multifaceted economic link that will serve as a bridge between the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It will connect Chongqing to Guangxi/Qinzhou, and from Qinzhou to Singapore and beyond, thereby enhancing connectivity between Western China, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and other regions.
Mr Teo said, “Singapore is Asia’s infrastructure hub and one of the world’s leading financial centre and is therefore well-positioned to contribute to the development of the BRI. With many companies and specialists equipped with experience in master planning, infrastructure project structuring and financing, engineering design, legal and arbitration and other professional skills, Singapore businesses can support and complement Chinese companies expanding their presence in the region with their proven track record and intimate knowledge of local markets.”
He added, “Many of our companies have been operating in Southeast Asia and South Asia for decades. Singapore can therefore be a launch-pad for companies from China and other countries to venture into third-party markets. We anticipate closer and deeper cooperation in various fields under the provisions of the upgraded China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, as well as China’s newly passed Foreign Investment Law.”