Ladies and Gentlemen,
On economic cooperation, Singapore and China share many common interests, including on keeping trade free and open.
2. We welcome China’s interest to support a more integrated rules-based trading system that is inclusive and reciprocal, and to deepen economic cooperation with the Asia-Pacific and the world.
3. Both Singapore and China are signatories to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. President Xi has also mentioned China’s favourable consideration to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
4. Over the years, we have collaborated with our Chinese partners on pathfinder projects at the local, and regional levels. In the next phase, amidst a rapidly changing geopolitical situation, that requires us to connect with the world, we want to go beyond this. Singapore can partner China to create more inclusive, international platforms that can better connect with the world, and work towards establishing global standards for a more inclusive and integrated global order.
5. To this end, I have suggested five projects that can act as ‘lighthouses’, for Singapore and China, the region and the world. First, ffinancial cooperation with Shanghai. Second, sustainable development with Tianjin. Third, innovation cooperation and digital connectivity with Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Fourth, multimodal connectivity with Chongqing and Western China. Fifth, biomedical cooperation with Suzhou.
6. Allow me to speak a little more about Suzhou, as MTI oversees the SIP project. The Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, and has been an important pathfinder for cooperation between Singapore and China.
7. We will continue to partner the SIP as it goes beyond the notion of a traditional industrial park; and becomes an example of a cooperation project whose experience we can export to other projects in the Yangtze River Delta region. We will partner SIP as it goes beyond China too, and further its opening-up, and going out of China.
8. Today, we concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on Biomedical Cooperation, which will allow us to leverage our respective strengths to promote innovation and commercialisation of biomedical products. This strengthens our cooperation, amidst the pandemic.
9. With these five ‘lighthouses’ guiding the way, we hope that these signature projects would not only better connect Singapore with China, but that it also sets standards, and provides a gateway for China’s integration with the rest of the world, in the various dimensions. As we say in Chinese, we hope to achieve the following aspiration – “超越双边，联接国际”， 以“卓越水平，海纳全球” - and move towards the next lap of our bilateral and regional cooperation.
10. We are also happy to commence the CSFTA Work Programme for Subsequent Negotiations. This will elevate the CSFTA to leading standards in free trade agreements and keep pace with the needs of the business community.
11. These are ways in which Singapore will continue to be a consistent and trusted partner of choice for China in its “International Circulation” strategy.
12. This will be how we will strengthen and deepen our bonds and partnership between our two countries in the next 30 years, and beyond. Thank you.