CLOSING SPEECH BY DR KOH POH KOON
SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY & NATIONAL
DEVELOPMENT AND VICE CO-CHAIRMAN OF SINGAPORE-JIANGSU
COOPERATION COUNCIL (SJCC)
11TH SJCC MEETING
23 NOV 2017, JIANGSU PROVINCE, SUZHOU
Governor Wu Zhenglong
Vice Governor Chen Zhenning,
Distinguished Council Members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
SJCC is a platform to explore initiatives with mutual benefits, in tandem with the new era
As we have heard this morning, the SJCC is a platform to explore initiatives with mutual benefits, in tandem with the new era. Singapore’s investment in Jiangsu, have traditionally been catalysed by Suzhou Industrial Park and has subsequently expanded to the provincial-level status, companies-led initiatives of the Singapore-Nanjing Eco Hi Tech Island and Sutong Industrial Park.
The cooperation between Singapore and Jiangsu is one that has progressed with the times. Our old and new friends have also shared their insights and efforts related to China’s key economic purpose, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as Urban Renewal and “Special Characteristics Townships”.
Under the Belt and Road Initiative, Singapore will continue to (a) firstly, support the internationalisation of Jiangsu companies; (b) secondly, support third country collaboration; (c) thirdly, strengthen trade connectivity with Jiangsu; and (d) fourthly, maintain strong people-to-people exchanges. Specifically, we would like to commend Suzhou Industrial Park for its efforts in exploring projects along the Belt and Road with Singapore companies and I encourage them to further progress on this front. Relatedly, CSSD’s successful listing will provide CSSD with additional financial resources to carry out its internationalisation plan to Southeast Asia and beyond.
As our economies transform, innovation will be key. The Government and Institutes of Higher Learning such as Singapore’s National University of Singapore (NUS) are enablers and catalysts for innovation. We look forward to the collaboration between Singapore and Jiangsu to take on a more active role in innovation to bring ideas from research laboratories to the market. I am also confident that BLOCK71 at SIP will be a bridge between the innovation ecosystems of Singapore and Suzhou, and Jiangsu province, that will contribute to the economic transformation of Singapore and China.
In the area of “Special Characteristics Townships”, we also look forward to collaborate in Jiangsu’s bid to rejuvenate the towns and transform their economies.
Commitment to deepen cooperation and develop linkages, with people at the heart of cooperation
We are fortunate to have Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is chairing the Future Economy Council, as the Co-Chairman of Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council. This affirms Singapore’s commitment to deepen cooperation and develop linkages, that can transform both our economies and lead us to a better future.
Ultimately, people is at the heart of our cooperation and there are robust exchanges at various levels. I am heartened to note that to date, seven cohorts of Jiangsu students have come to Singapore to study. Jiangsu students are hardworking and live up to the good name of the province. The first three cohorts of students had performed well in their GCE A levels course, and are now pursuing their further education.
Singapore students, teachers, working professionals are keen to learn and make trips to Jiangsu. In 2017, there were 54 students’ immersion, curriculum development, and teachers’ professional development trips made to Jiangsu province. A total of 453 Polytechnic students have participated in work attachments with Jiangsu enterprises and/or Overseas Immersion Programme in Jiangsu. Both Singapore and Jiangsu must continue the vision and work of our leadership to promote people-to-people exchange.
In 2017, International Enterprise Singapore’s China-Ready Programme took place in Suzhou. This programme allowed participants to gain a deeper knowledge by immersing themselves in Suzhou and SIP and to test-drive their business concepts by interacting with our friends in Suzhou.
The inaugural Singapore and Jiangsu Youth Entrepreneur Exchange that took place this morning also provided another key avenue for the new era of cooperation, with robust discussion by the next generation of business leaders and young entrepreneurs. I would like to thank Ms Sun Xue Ling, CEO, BusinessChina and Mr Wang Wei, Chairman of the Jiangsu Youth Federation for jointly taking a lead in bringing our entrepreneurs from both Jiangsu and Singapore together – to build friendships, exchange ideas, and promote collaboration.