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Singapore looks to boost bilateral investments, trade with Shandong

SINGAPORE and the eastern Chinese province of Shandong will explore ways to increase bilateral investments and trade as well as investment cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative at their annual business council meeting later this year.

These were among areas of cooperation discussed by Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health Chee Hong Tat, who co-chairs the Singapore-Shandong Business Council, and Chinese officials during his visit to the province this week.

Mr Chee met the Shandong vice-governor Ren Airong, his co-chair of the business council, on Monday at the provincial capital of Jinan.

On Tuesday, Mr Chee, who was accompanied by a delegation of Singaporean business leaders and officials, visited the province's port city of Yantai where he met the city's party secretary Zhang Shuping.

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During their meetings, Mr Chee and the Chinese officials affirmed the positive relations between Singapore and Shandong and discussed ways to further increase bilateral investments and trade.

They also discussed investment cooperation in third countries under the Belt and Road Initiative to build infrastructure along trade routes between China and Europe, and set up people-to-people exchanges between Singapore and Shandong, such as training programmes, internship opportunities and student exchanges.

These will form key areas of cooperation that will be discussed at the business council meeting, which could take place early in the second half of this year.

Total bilateral trade between Singapore and Shangdong last year was 17.93 billion yuan (S$3.74 billion), with actual investment totalling 7.49 billion yuan, according to Enterprise Singapore.

In Yantai, Mr Chee also witnessed the signing of a contract between Singapore’s Mapletree Investments and the Yantai government to build a $52 million logistics warehouse in the city’s Fushan district.    

Mapletree Investments has two other logistics park projects in Shandong province, in Jinan and Qingdao. (see amendment note)

Mr Chee's four-day trip to Shandong, which ended yesterday, is his third since last year and his second after he was designated co-chair of the business council last July.

He plans to make regular trips to different parts of Shandong "to get to know the government leaders and businesses, and to better understand how we can work together to promote more investments and trade, and encourage more people-to-people linkages between Singapore and Shandong".

"These include exchanges between our students and young working professionals to facilitate mutual learning, friendship and cooperation," Mr Chee said.

Amendment note: Mapletree has made a clarification on their end and the article was amended accordingly.