S'pore Pledges Support for Belt and Road Initiative

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean pledged that Singapore will work with China in the Belt and Road Initiative.

In his opening address at the FutureChina Global Forum on Thursday (13 Jul), DPM Teo called the Belt and Road Initiative a “grand vision” that “has the potential to bring long-lasting benefits for regional development and integration, uplifting the economies and people across this whole vast region”.

Three key areas of cooperation that both countries could work together to achieve the initiative’s “full potential” were outlined by DPM Teo in his speech:

1. Enhancing Physical and Digital Connectivity
As a “strong proponent of the right of transit passage for ships and aircraft of all countries through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore”, Singapore will “(work) together to keep critical sea lanes open and safe for shipping from all countries, and for all countries.

Additionally, digital technology should be used to “connect people and enhance the flow of goods, services and data among cities along the Belt and Road”, he added.

This would create a network effect that magnifies the benefits of the initiative in both the physical and virtual space.

2. Enhancing Financial Cooperation
Financial institutions with major operations in Singapore and service countries along the Belt and Road can also play an active role in financing trade and investments between China and Asean, said DPM Teo.

There are opportunities to deepen financial links between Singapore and China to support the financial needs of Belt and Road, and the internationalisation of China’s currency.

“Chinese banks in particular, are growing their operations in Singapore to support the needs of Chinese and Singapore-based corporates participating in the Belt and Road”, he noted.

Furthermore, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) can also work with other multilateral financing institutions in Singapore, such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

3. Enhancing People-to-People Connectivity
Both Singapore and China could undertake joint collaborations with third countries along the Belt and Road to develop their human capital.

“This could include programmes to share experiences in project preparation and finance, operating ports and airports, and managing industrial parks and free trade zones,” said DPM Teo.

He added that think tanks in both countries could also be encouraged to do joint research and seminars on the Belt and Road.

In his speech, DPM Teo also spoke of “strong bilateral relations that has adapted with the changing needs of both countries (Singapore and China) over the years”.
“Our cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative is a key example of this, which has much potential for broadening and deepening out relationship and taking to the next level”, he said.

Source: “DPM Teo highlights how Singapore and China can work together to realise full potential of Belt and Road Initiative” (The Straits Times, 13 July 2017)

Next GST Increase Among Key Issues In Budget Debate