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Singapore, China deepen bilateral economic ties at IPC meeting in Beijing

Mr Lim (left) and Mr Zhong at the 5th Singapore-China Investment Promotion Committee Meeting in Beijing.

SINGAPORE and China will continue augmenting economic cooperation and deepen two-way investment ties even as both countries forge ahead with their economic transformations, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Tuesday, following the Investment Promotion Committee (IPC) meeting.

Held in Beijing, the meeting was co-chaired by Singapore's trade minister Lim Hng Kiang and China's minister of commerce, Zhong Shan. At the event, both ministers affirmed the long-standing bilateral economic ties between Singapore and China, including cooperation in governmental projects.

The meeting also noted growing and diversifying investments by Singapore companies in China, where the ministers "exchanged views on how Singapore companies could capture new opportunities arising from China's 11 free trade zones and regional development initiatives such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regional integration", the MTI said.

Singapore also welcomed China's interest to support the internationalisation of Chinese companies under the Belt and Road initiative (BRI), by leveraging Singapore's infrastructure development, financing capabilities, as well as legal and dispute resolution services.

Additionally, the ministers noted the progress made thus far in four rounds of negotiations regarding an upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA), and encouraged officials to work towards a conclusion of this upgrade by next year.

Said Mr Lim: "The IPC meeting is an opportunity for Singapore and China to discuss new economic opportunities and explore new initiatives as both countries undergo economic transformation. Innovation and maintaining our linkages with the world are at the heart of the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy."

"There is scope for Singapore companies to forge closer partnerships with Chinese companies, be it in China, Singapore or in third-party markets," he added.

In 2016, China was Singapore's largest trading partner, while Singapore has been China's largest foreign investor since 2013. Last year, Singapore was also China's top investment destination among countries along the Belt and Road, capturing 29 per cent of total investment outflow from China to Belt and Road countries.

The BRI was first unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, with the aim of connecting about 80 countries across three continents to China.

The last IPC meeting between Singapore and China was held in June 2014.