Mayor Tang Liangzhi (唐良智)
Vice Mayor Li Bo (李波)
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
1. Good evening. I am delighted to participate virtually in today’s celebrations to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI). It was exactly on this date five years ago that Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping witnessed the launch of the CCI as the third Government-to-Government (G-to-G) project between our countries. 2020 also marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China, a very major milestone. The three G-to-G projects showcase the depth and range of our bilateral cooperation, which continues to grow from strength to strength.
2. As with our two G-to-G projects, the objective of the CCI is to complement China’s developmental priorities. Both sides agreed that the CCI should focus on the theme of modern connectivity and services, to allow Singapore and China to tap on our complementary strengths and work together on new areas of mutual interests. This synergy reflects the all-round cooperative partnership between Singapore and China that progresses with the times.
3. The CCI also broke new grounds by not being physically bound. The CCI is based in Chongqing but aims to unlock the potential of the entire Western China by enhancing its connectivity, physical and non-physical, with other regions. For instance, the CCI New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, or the CCI-ILSTC, reduces the time and cost taken to transport goods between Western China and Southeast Asia. Despite the disruption of supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cargo flows along the CCI-ILSTC has increased in the first half of 2020 year-on-year. The corridor has proven to be a viable alternative to traditional routes, transporting essential items such as food and medical supplies as we combat the pandemic.
4. On the newer but increasingly important front of digital connectivity, collaborations on the CCI have enabled the development of the CCI International Dedicated Connectivity, or CCI-IDC. The CCI-IDC provides a dedicated data channel that facilitates the flow of digital trade and information between Western China and Southeast Asia through Chongqing and Singapore respectively.
5. The CCI-ILTSC and IDC show the forward-looking nature of CCI, as they put us on a firmer footing as our economies emerge from COVID-19 to a world that is likely to place a bigger premium on supply chain resilience and greater emphasis on digitalisation and innovation.
6. These are just some examples of what the CCI has achieved in five years. We have also made good progress in many areas such including finance, aviation, and people-to-people exchanges. As we celebrate the CCI’s achievements, we must also remember the important task that lies ahead: How do we ensure the CCI continues to be of a high starting point, high standard and innovative? I would like to offer some thoughts on the principles that have guided us so far, and how they will become even more relevant as the CCI progresses.
7. First, the CCI must remain open and inclusive. This plays to the CCI’s strengths as a project that covers multiple dimensions of connectivity, unconstrained by geography. The CCI is ultimately about building networks, and we welcome all parties and stakeholders who want to contribute to the CCI and the CCI-ILSTC to come onboard and strengthen our networks.
8. Second, CCI collaborations must be commercially viable and sustainable. This is necessary to attract more commercial partners and investment, especially over the long haul. That we have so many business representatives celebrating here with us today is testament to the commercial interest in the region, and the possibilities ahead as we design future collaborations.
9. Third, for the CCI to truly make an impact in so vast an area as Western China, it must pilot innovative measures, whether in policies, rules, or processes, which can be replicated in other parts of China if successful. We should strive to create an ecosystem where innovation is encouraged and rewarded, and which will in turn attract more partners and talent to bring the CCI to greater heights.
10. As we commemorate the CCI’s 5th anniversary, I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to the Central Government, Chongqing government, and to all our colleagues, past and present, for your hard work and dedication to the CCI. We have over the past few years build a good foundation for the CCI. As we enter the next phase of the CCI, let us work together so that the CCI will continue to be a powerful testimony to our belief in the benefits of connection and integration to bring out the best in each other.
12. Thank you very much.