Speech By Minister Josephine Teo at the 4th Chongqing Connectivity Initiative Financial Summit

Speech By Minister Josephine Teo at the 4th Chongqing Connectivity Initiative Financial Summit

Mayor Tang Liangzhi,

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

1. Good afternoon. I am happy to join you today at the 4th Chongqing Connectivity Initiative Financial Summit.

2. I would first like to thank Chongqing for hosting this Summit. I am encouraged by the strong turnout from the ASEAN central banks and financial institutions who will be participating in the Summit virtually over the next two days.

3. I am confident that the Summit will see much fruitful exchange of ideas between leading financial minds from ASEAN and China. It is still a challenge to manage the impact of COVID-19, but events such as this demonstrate our resilience in adapting to the new reality, and the importance of staying connected. 

4. ASEAN-China ties have remained strong during this period, with 2021 marking the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations. Underpinning ASEAN’s and China’s multifaceted relationship is our robust economic ties. Last year, both sides became each other’s largest trading partners, and we continue to increase our economic cooperation. 

5. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will enter into force on 1 January 2022. Both sides will also conduct a Joint Feasibility Study to identify other areas to further enhance the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area. These efforts will further boost trade and investment, and help secure our economic recovery.

6. Against this positive backdrop of greater regional integration, the financial services sector can shine in its catalytic role. First, by supporting the real economy to meet today’s challenges; and second, by providing the means and incentives to transit to a more sustainable foundation for tomorrow’s opportunities. 

7. It is with these aims in mind that Singapore has worked closely with Chongqing on the Financial Services pillar of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative in areas such as cross-border financing, trade digitalisation, and green financing. I am glad to see that more financial institutions and companies from both sides are actively tapping on the opportunities made available through our cooperation. 

8. Chongqing has an important role as the financial hub for Western China. This is outlined in the plans for the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle. As a result, I am hopeful that we will see even greater progress in the financial services pillar.

9. One key platform of cooperation between Singapore and Chongqing where financial services can serve a useful role is the CCI New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, or CCI-ILSTC. As we continue to face serious disruptions in global supply chains caused by the pandemic, the corridor has proven to be a viable alternate trade route connecting Southeast Asia with Western China. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement. 

10. Alongside efforts to improve transport infrastructure along the CCI-ILSTC, the financial services sector can leverage on technology to provide more value-added services for users, such as giving shippers easy access to trade financing and cargo insurance.

11. Increased digitalisation also offers the chance for shippers and financial institutions to exchange digital trade documents more easily and securely on trade financing platforms. In particular, the TradeTrust framework developed by the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority can streamline the process for the exchange and verification of these documents. 

12. Later, Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, will provide more details on this and other initiatives where Singapore and Chongqing are collaborating to improve the value propositions of the CCI-ILSTC.

13. Financial services, coupled with the right technological tools, can have a powerful impact on trade and businesses along the CCI-ILSTC. Given the deep, dynamic, and multi-faceted relationship that ASEAN and China have established over the last 30 years, I am confident that the next two days will see fruitful discussions on many other areas of mutual interests. 

14. I wish everyone a fruitful Summit. Thank you.

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