Party Secretary Yuan,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
1. Good afternoon. I am delighted to join you today at the 5th Chongqing Connectivity Initiative Financial Summit from Singapore.
2. I would like to start by thanking Chongqing for hosting this annual Summit which provides an open platform for Singapore, China, and ASEAN partners to exchange ideas on how we can boost financial connectivity between our countries and regions.
3. Since the first Financial Summit was held in 2018, we have achieved many significant milestones together. For instance, companies from ten provinces across Western China have leveraged the cross-border financing provided under the CCI as an additional avenue to raise offshore financing via Singapore.
4. To further promote the two-way opening up of China’s financial markets, Chongqing became the first location in central and western China to implement the Qualified Domestic Limited Partnership pilot program in 2021. Two Singapore financial institutions were the first to be granted quotas totalling 500 million US dollars. One of them, ICHAM Private Limited, has also established a private fund management entity in Chongqing to leverage Singapore’s access to opportunities across private markets and facilitate overseas investments by qualified Chinese investors. This will add further vibrancy to Chongqing’s financial ecosystem, and bring the total number of Singapore financial institutions registered in Chongqing to 14 – spanning across banking, capital markets, and microfinance.
5. Singapore-Chongqing collaboration in financial services has also evolved in tandem with the broadening of our cooperation under the CCI. From providing traditional cross-border financing to companies in Chongqing and Western China, our collaboration has expanded to include areas such as green and sustainable finance. Later, my colleague, Mr Ravi Menon will elaborate further on our collaboration in this area.
6. Financial services support the needs of the real economy and will facilitate our transition towards a more sustainable, digital, and innovative future. During my virtual call with Party Secretary Yuan and Mayor Hu last week, Party Secretary Yuan highlighted the important role that financial services have played in leading the cooperation between our cities and companies. We will continue to work with Chongqing on innovative cross-border financial pilots that can unlock greater connectivity and cross-border flows, including along the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.
7. Beyond our bilateral cooperation, Singapore has also been supportive of Chongqing’s and China’s engagement of the wider Southeast Asian region. With a combined population of 660 million and GDP of 3 trillion US dollars, ASEAN is, like Western China, one of the fastest growing regions of the world with a huge demand for financial services.
8. In recent years, supply chain disruptions have further demonstrated the importance of closer regional cooperation in supporting economic development and raising the living standards of our people. ASEAN and China are part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, which entered into force last year. The RCEP reduces trade and investment barriers, and creates a facilitative environment with more transparent regulations and measures, including for businesses in the financial services sector. Last November, ASEAN and China also launched negotiations for the upgrade of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, showing both sides’ commitment to ensuring that the FTA remains relevant to businesses and global trends.
9. Enhancing financial cooperation and connectivity is important as it helps to promote ASEAN-China economic integration. More connected financial eco-systems across the region will help businesses by lowering transaction costs, improving their access to financing, and making it easier for businesses to manage risks and their finances. All these will have a positive effect on increasing trade flows and cross-border investments in new projects, and help realise the immense potential of our region.
10. In times like these when exciting opportunities as well as challenges abound, I am confident that our financial sector players who are enthusiastic as well as filled with ideas will work towards more meaningful collaborations. I look forward to the quality discussions that will take place over the next two days.
11. I wish everyone a fruitful Summit. Thank you.