23 Nov 2017

OPENING SPEECH BY MR HENG SWEE KEAT,

MINISTER FOR FINANCE AND CO-CHAIRMAN OF SINGAPORE-JIANGSU

COOPERATION COUNCIL (SJCC)

11TH SJCC MEETING

23 NOV 2017, JIANGSU PROVINCE, SUZHOU


尊敬的吴政隆省长,

陈震宁副省长,

各位理事会成员,

女士们、先生们,

大家早上好!


  1. 首先,我要对尊敬的吴省长、陈副省长、省政府和苏州市各位领导对新加坡代表团给予的盛情款待表示感谢。很荣幸今天在苏州与吴省长共同主持召开新加坡-江苏合作理事会 (SJCC) 第十一次会议。非常开心能再次回到苏州与各位老朋友见面,也再一次目睹苏州工业园多年来取得的成就。


  2. Deep and strong friendship built over the years from a solid foundation

  3. China and Singapore enjoy a longstanding and friendly relationship, with cooperation in a wide range of areas. There are frequent exchanges between our political leaders, and a new generation of leadership in both countries has brought our relationship to a deeper level.

  4. During Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent official visit to Beijing, the last official visit received by the Chinese government before the 19th Party Congress, President Xi and Prime Minister Lee agreed that both countries “have strategic congruence and share common interests in many areas”. President Xi shared that there are opportunities for us to facilitate cooperation that will lead to substantial and fruitful outcomes.

  5. For the fourth consecutive year, China is Singapore’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade of S$117.2 billion in 2016. Since 1997, China has been Singapore’s top investment destination and our cumulative direct investment amounts to S$118.9 billon.

  6. Our friendship is based on a solid foundation, and we have built it up over the years through our government-to-government projects with China, like the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) as well as engagement platforms such as SJCC, which is one of the seven bilateral councils that Singapore has established with seven provinces in China.

  7. Officials from both China and Singapore exchange ideas, learn and cooperate with one another. As part of our overseas training programmes, many Singaporean officials visit China every year. At the same time, Singapore has welcomed more than 55,000 Chinese officials on learning visits to Singapore since 1996. We enjoy a strong, healthy bilateral relationship.


  8. Singapore and Jiangsu’s relationship has advanced greatly since SJCC was set up in 2007; Our economic cooperation has progressed with the times and is in tandem with China’s development

  9. Since SJCC was set up in 2007, Singapore and Jiangsu’s relationship has advanced greatly. There are regular high-level exchanges, robust economic relations and close people-to-people ties.

  10. Today, Jiangsu is the largest economy in East China. In 2016, Jiangsu is the top provincial investment destination for Singapore’s direct investment abroad in China. Our actual investment in Jiangsu grew by 41.8% year-on-year to US$1 billion, while cumulative investments reached US$26.1 billion.

  11. Our economic cooperation has progressed with the times and in line with China’s development in the new era. This morning, at the inaugural Singapore and Jiangsu Youth Entrepreneurs Exchange, young entrepreneurs and second generation business leaders exchanged experiences and ideas about digital transformation and how they are innovating to grow their businesses.

  12. Later, we will discuss topics of importance to China and Singapore in this new era, such as Belt and Road cooperation, innovation and urban renewal.


  13. Singapore and Jiangsu have a valuable role to play in international collaborations under the Belt and Road initiative

  14. The Belt and Road Initiative is a bold initiative that draws on the history between China, Central Asia and Europe. Similar to the old Silk Road, it has the potential to not only catalyse economic development, but also facilitate the flow of people and ideas.

  15. Singapore is an early supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative. We believe that this initiative will promote greater economic integration between China and Singapore and countries along the Belt and Road. I am happy to note that Singapore and Jiangsu are exploring partnerships and making progress to advance this important initiative.

  16. The National-level Outbound Investment Platform, established in 2015 in Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) with the support of International Enterprise Singapore, supports Jiangsu enterprises that are keen to venture out.

  17. There is room for more Singapore and Jiangsu collaboration in this area. Sitting in the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore has an interest and experience in bringing together businesses from the East and West to collaborate on projects of benefit to all parties. Singapore companies that know the region well can partner Chinese companies to offer useful solutions into the region’s market. Our Singapore professional services companies and organisations, such as the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and our Singapore banks, can also complement these enterprises’ overseas aspirations. Together, we can make the most of one another’s strengths, bring value to the region, and go further together.

  18. As Singapore takes on the ASEAN chairmanship next year, we will support greater integration between the ASEAN Masterplan for Connectivity and the Belt and Road Initiative.

  19. I am happy to note SIP’s pilot collaboration in cross-border Single Window Connectivity, in the form of the successful link-up of CrimsonLogic’s Global eTrade Services (GeTS) and SIP’s Single Trade Window in August 2017. This enhances trade connectivity and supports trade growth between China and the countries along the Belt and Road, from Asia to Europe.


  20. Suzhou Industrial Park continues to be a pathfinder for new Singapore - China bilateral initiatives, being at the frontier of science, technology and innovation

  21. President Xi said at the 19th Party Congress that “Innovation is the primary force driving development, and it is the strategic underpinning for building a modernised economy”. In Singapore, we are implementing the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) to develop deep capabilities in our firms, drive innovation, step up our internationalisation efforts, and transform our industries. As both of our economies transform, innovation and entrepreneurship stand out as areas where we can strengthen our collaboration to the benefit of our enterprises and people.

  22. I hope SIP will continue to be a pathfinder for new Singapore and China bilateral initiatives, and be at the frontier of science, technology and innovation.

  23. BLOCK71, the heart of Singapore’s technology start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem, will be opening in SIP today. This is the first BLOCK71 in China and marks another important step towards forging a culture of working, experimenting, and succeeding together for the innovators and entrepreneurs of Singapore and Jiangsu.


  24. Singapore supports Jiangsu in her rejuvenation of towns and the transformation of her local economy

  25. Trade and economic growth is a means to an end, to give our people a better future, and for our children to be able to look forward to a better quality of life. President Xi has spoken about the China dream and cultural confidence. Jiangsu, rich in history, culture and natural beauty, is a vital part of this vision. Suzhou is a showcase for the smooth integration of classical gardens, a historic old town, and forward-looking industrial and innovation facilities.

  26. I look forward to hearing from Singapore companies, such as CapitaLand, on how their integrated development experience can be of value to Jiangsu’s aspiration to develop her sub-urban areas into “Special Characteristics Townships”, to rejuvenate the towns and transform the local economy.


  27. Conclusion

  28. 最后,我要对吴省长、各省政府领导与苏州市各位领导,对于新加坡-江苏合作理事会和我们新加坡企业一如既往的支持,表示由衷的感谢。我希望能和江苏的朋友一起抓住机遇,推动、促进实质的合作成果。预祝新加坡-江苏合作理事会圆满成功。谢谢。