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  • Singapore Regional Business Forum to explore business opportunities through regional cooperation and connectivity

Singapore Regional Business Forum to explore business opportunities through regional cooperation and connectivity

  • Business leaders and industry experts from the region to share insights into regional connectivity, infrastructure, finance, ICT and people-to-people linkages in the 21st century Maritime Silk Road
  • SBF member Pacific International Lines (PIL) will sign two MOUs with China state-owned enterprises resulting from the Belt and Road initiative

16 August 2016 [Singapore] - Following the success of its inaugural edition in 2015, this year, the Singapore Regional Business Forum (SRBF) will explore regional cooperation and connectivity in the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, focusing on the importance of regional connectivity, emerging business opportunities, and Singapore’s role in promoting partnership among the countries.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), will grace the event and deliver a keynote speech at the lunch talk.

The opening keynote address will be delivered by Mr Li Zhaoxing, President, China Public Diplomacy Association and Former Foreign Minister, People’s Republic of China.

As one of the flagship events of Singapore Business Federation (SBF), SRBF will bring together some 500 business leaders, representatives from foreign embassies and government officials from Singapore, China and the region to discuss topics including infrastructure, finance, ICT tourism, hospitality and cultural exchanges.

In a collaboration between China and Singapore businesses arising from the One Belt, One Road initiative, SBF member Pacific International Lines (PIL) will sign two Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with state-owned China Merchants Port and China Machinery Engineering Corporation to boost collaboration in shipping, port operations and logistics services. Commenting on the MOUs which originated from discussions at last year’s SRBF, PIL Managing Director and SBF Chairman Mr SS Teo said that the new collaborations are another testament to the potential benefits for businesses participating in OBOR (please refer to Annex A for details on the MOUs).

Mr Chua Taik Him, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, who will be witnessing the signing ceremony, said “China’s One Belt One Road initiative has catalysed projects in the maritime transport and logistics sector. Singapore’s deep knowledge on regional markets and extensive network of global trade and investments offer synergistic value to Chinese companies who seek trade and investment opportunities outside China. IE Singapore supports strategic partnerships like PIL’s as they can generate sizable economic activities for Singapore.”

The 21st century Maritime Silk Road initiative is part of the “One Belt, One Road” development strategy proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2013, aimed at increasing regional connectivity, encouraging integration and infrastructural cooperation between countries in the region, as well as to promote economic growth.

 As the second largest economy in the world, China’s trade with countries along the Maritime Silk Road has grown by an average of 18.2 percent annually over the past decade accounting for 20 percent of the country's total foreign trade volume, up from 14.6 percent 10 years ago. Chinese companies' direct investment in these countries increased from US$240 million to US$9.27 billion, representing an annual growth of 44 percent.[1]

Mr Teo said “Singapore welcomes the very important Belt and Road Initiative of China.  We hope that SRBF will provide an open, friendly, neutral and constructive platform for businesses to gain insights into regional market conditions, exchange ideas, network with potential business partners and reap the benefits of collaborating with companies venturing into the region.”

He added, “We hope the discussions will raise your awareness of the ’Belt and Road’ initiative, set you thinking about your business strategy and response, help build your corporate capabilities, source for project development opportunities, identify joint-venture partners and potential acquisitions, and even establish new representative offices in the region.”

Some 30 senior government officials, prominent business leaders and industry experts from countries including Singapore, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines will speak at the Forum.

The participants include Ambassador Tommy Koh, Co-Chairman, Singapore-China Forum and Ambassador-At-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore; Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies; Mr John Bruce Rae-Smith, Executive Director, Swire Pacific Limited; Mr George T. Barcelon, President, Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industries; Bapak Haryanto Adikoesoemo, President Director & Group CEO, PT AKR Corporindo Tbk; Mr Li Xiaopeng, Vice Chairman & Group President, China Merchants Group Limited; and Mr Liu Yonghao, Founder & Chairman, New Hope Group. They will elaborate on the current state of regional economic development, the importance of close business partnerships, as well as opportunities and challenges for collaboration and connectivity in the region.

Mr Chan Chun Sing will share insights into the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI), which is slated to enhance connectivity in finance, aviation, transport, logistics and ICT within Western China, as well as between China and the world. The CCI is the third government-led project between China and Singapore and is also a key demonstration project of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

SRBF is supported by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, Embassy of China in Singapore, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Business China.

The Forum is sponsored by Bank of China, China Enterprises Association (Singapore), China Taiping, DBS Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Pacific International Lines, Starhub Ltd, and United Overseas Bank Limited.

[1] Source: The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China

Annex A: Pacific International Lines to sign MOUs with China Merchant Port and China Machinery Engineering Corporation

Speech by Ambassador Chen Xiaodong

Opening Address by SBF Chairman Mr SS Teo

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