ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Singapore, China sign agreements to boost bilateral cooperation
SINGAPORE: Singapore and China have signed seven agreements to deepen bilateral cooperation.
The agreements were inked after a series of high-level meetings in Singapore on Tuesday morning and will allow greater collaboration in a variety of ways - such as in the setting up of a smart city, environment sustainability, healthcare and financial services.
The Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) is the highest level bilateral meeting between China and Singapore to chart future cooperation.
This year's meeting marks its 10th anniversary.
Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore’s trade and industry minister, said: "Our companies have very good track records in urbanisation and urban solutions, and in this new path that China has set itself in, I think our companies are well-positioned. Indeed, we have examples of our companies participating in water projects, waste water treatment and many of the urban solutions that we have a strong track record in."
China is also looking to increase the contribution of services in its GDP.
Several agreements inked after the meetings will promote bilateral trade in services, including financial services.
One of the agreements looks at piloting a “smart city” in the Suzhou Industrial Park, allowing Singapore companies to provide solutions in transport, education and healthcare.
Both countries have also agreed to explore the possibility of setting up a fund to help Singapore companies carrying out infrastructure projects.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said: "This year's JCBC I think has been important in that there's a new leadership in China, there's a new chairman, who's a significant personality in China's leadership. And it has given us an opportunity to refresh the agenda and bring it forward so that we can set the guidelines for bilateral relationship at least for the next five years."
A Chinese representative who attended the meetings told the media the atmosphere was friendly and the discussions were in depth.
She added that China's Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli has emphasised the importance for both countries to continue using this platform for greater and deeper cooperation in the future.
Mr Zhang also met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other leaders on Tuesday afternoon.
He met Mr Lee at the Istana, where they discussed expanding bilateral cooperation between both countries.
Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Lee said he is confident that Singapore's relations with China will continue to grow under its new leaders.
Mr Zhang also called on President Tony Tan Keng Yam.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Zhang was hosted to a dinner by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.
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