Opening Speech by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance and Co-Chairman of Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council (SJCC) at the 12th SJCC Meeting, 20 November 2018, Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore20 Nov 2018
各位 江苏省市领导 与新苏企业家,
Jiangsu and Singapore enjoy a long standing relationship, with substantial progress in key collaboration areas
4. Since SJCC was set up in 2007, Singapore and Jiangsu have enjoyed a long standing relationship, with strong political and economic relations, and close people-to-people ties.
a. Last year, Singapore’s total trade with Jiangsu was 78.4 billion RMB,
which is a 15.7% year-on-year increase.
b. Singapore’s investment in Jiangsu province was 8.3 billion RMB in 2017. This is an increase of almost 20% from 2016. As of the first half of 2018, Singapore’s total cumulative investment into Jiangsu was 189.4 billion RMB . Jiangsu accounts for approximately 30% of Singapore’s investment in China, and has consistently remained as the top investment destination for Singapore in China.Singapore is committed to partner Jiangsu in supporting China’s economic priorities
5. Singapore is committed to partner Jiangsu in supporting China’s economic priorities.
a. The Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI 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.
b. At the 14th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting in September this year, both China and Singapore welcomed the BRI as an important focal point of our deepening cooperation. Our collaboration with Jiangsu in BRI are in three key areas: trade and port connectivity, financial connectivity, and third-party market collaboration.Trade and Port Connectivity
6. First, we can 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.
a. Singapore companies could explore coastal Jiangsu cities, such as Nantong and Lianyungang. Both cities are uniquely positioned to capitalise on the trade and logistics growth in the Yangtze River Delta region.
b. With a strong manufacturing base and growing transport connectivity,
Nantong will play an increasingly important role as the economic integration gathers pace for the Yangtze River Delta region. Singapore companies, such as Keppel and Mapletree, already have investments in Nantong.
c. Located in northern Jiangsu, Lianyungang is an important link along the transcontinental New Eurasian Land Bridge that runs from the Pacific and cuts across Central Asia to Europe. With its deep sea port and rail connectivity to Central Asia and Europe, it could serve as one of the key intermodal logistics node that links the Silk Road Economic Belt with the Maritime Silk Road. PSA has its operations there. The Lianyungang Port Holdings Group would be sharing how they are advancing BRI in the panel discussion later.
d. As a global trade and logistics hub, Singapore would be happy to share our experiences with both cities, and to learn from them. Singapore enterprises can also contribute to deepening Singapore’s trade and logistics linkages with both Nantong and Lianyungang.Financial Connectivity
7. Second, we can promote greater financial connectivity. Singapore, as a major financial centre, seeks to facilitate finance and business services. Around one-quarter of China’s investments into the Belt and Road countries currently flows through Singapore’s financial system.
a. During Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Singapore last week, Singapore endorsed the “Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road” (《一带一路融资指导原则》), demonstrating our commitment to the development of long term, stable and sustainable financing system for BRI projects.
b. Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) is the first Government-to-Government project and the cornerstone of Singapore-Jiangsu cooperation. SIP was set up as an integrated township development, to pilot a new model of economic and social development. It is often regarded as a development model for China’s industrial zones.
c. Today, the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee will be signing several MOUs on Financial Cooperation with the Development Bank of Singapore, Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation, Singapore Exchange and United Overseas Bank. In addition, Philips Capital would also be signing a MOU with Bank of Suzhou. Suzhou is already one of the designated sites for cross-border RMB initiatives between Singapore and China.
d. These MOUs will strengthen our financial connectivity, facilitate the internationalisation of Jiangsu companies, investments of Singapore companies into Jiangsu, and promote collaborations in FinTech.Third-Party Market Collaboration
8. Third, we can enhance third-party market collaboration. As the global economic weight shifts towards Asia, Asia will play a larger role in global trade and investment flows. Singapore supports China’s going-out (走出去) strategy. Singapore can be springboard for companies to venture into third-party markets especially in Southeast Asia.
a. Singapore has set up Infrastructure Asia office to match demand and supply, by bringing companies together across the infrastructure value chain. Governor Wu and team have met Ms Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Education, yesterday to talk about Infrastructure Asia. This will also enable Chinese companies to tap Singapore’s capabilities to structure, finance and manage projects along the Belt and Road countries more effectively.
b. The China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Co.,Ltd and Sembcorp would be signing a MOU later on third-party market collaboration in Southeast Asia. I am happy to see Suzhou Industrial Park venturing out. We look forward to this new milestone in its 25th anniversary celebrations next year.9. In conjunction with this council meeting, Business China, with the support of Enterprise Singapore, had also organised a networking event for Jiangsu enterprises and companies last evening.
a. Our Jiangsu friends would have interacted and heard from Rajah & Tann, RSM Chio Lin, UOB and SGX about the benefits of growing their overseas presence through Singapore. There are success stories of Jiangsu enterprises internationalising through Singapore.
i. For example, Oriental Energy and Heng Li, have their HQs in Jiangsu and their international operations based in Singapore.
b. We welcome more Jiangsu enterprises to do so, to use Singapore as a base for global operations. 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.Collaborations in Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the benefits of our enterprises and people
10. With greater trade and port, and financial connectivity, and third-party market collaboration, this can bring about more opportunities for Singapore and Jiangsu to deepen and broaden our collaboration in innovation and entrepreneurship.
a. At the last SJCC, we have discussed innovation and entrepreneurship as an area where we can strengthen our collaboration to benefit our enterprises and people.
b. Since the launch of BLOCK71 in Suzhou last year, there are currently 34 startups and enterprises participating in their incubation programmes.
c. The Singapore Action Community for Entrepreneurship, or ACE, is also working with the Singapore Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island on the set up of ACE Nanjing – Singapore chapter, to promote the start-up and innovation system.
d. I encourage our entrepreneurs and start-ups to tap on these linkages and platforms, to explore these markets and test bed their solutions.11. Today, we are also making an “innovation” to the format of the 12th SJCC meeting. This is the first time we will be having two panel discussions, bringing government officials and industry practitioners from both sides, to share their experiences in advancing BRI, as well as Technology and Innovation. Through the two panel discussions, we would like to encourage the free flow of ideas and constructive exchanges. This reflects the spirit of the openness of Singapore and Jiangsu’s cooperation.
12. 女士们， 先生们， 朋友们。多年来，新苏合作开放融通。通过新苏合作理事会这个平台，两地在政治，经济和民间等各领域 双方交流频繁，合作密切。这不仅加深了我们对彼此的了解，也巩固了我们彼此间的友谊。
13. 尽管目前国际政治经济形势不确定因素增多，我相信新苏能以深厚的友谊为基础，以共商、共建、共创与 共享为原则，扎实地推进“一带一路”和科技创新等领域的各项合作项目，为促进双方的发展与繁荣做出贡献。
14. 最后，我期望江苏众领导和各级政府能一如既往地支持新加坡机构与企业在江苏的发展。我希望新苏的合作机制 能促进更多高水平与高质量的合作项目, 让新苏合作与时俱进，两地人民共享未来。预祝新加坡-江苏合作理事会圆满成功, 谢谢各位。我现在邀请吴政隆省长致开幕词。吴省长请。