COLLABORATING in emerging areas of the new economy will open up new opportunities in both Singapore and China, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong at the Business China's Future China Global Forum on Friday (Oct 7).
Highlighting Singapore's long support of China's engagement of South-east Asia, Wong said he was pleased China has also signalled its intent to "do more with Asean" by upgrading to the Asean-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA).
Singapore has consistently participated in and supported China's "reform and opening up" policies over the past four decades through the establishment of major government-to-government projects such as Suzhou Industrial Park in the early 1990s, Tianjin Eco-City in the 2000s, and Chongqing Connectivity Initiative in the 2010s.
The city state was also the first Asian country to sign a free trade agreement with China.
Wong said it was partly because of all these efforts that Singapore-China ties have grown from strength to strength over the years, with China as Singapore's largest trading partner and Singapore having been China's largest foreign investor.
"This reflects not just our economic ties, but the close links between our businesses and people too," he said.
By collaborating in emerging areas of the new economy - such as the digital economy and green development - Wong believes this will open up new opportunities for businesses in both Singapore and China, in areas such as digital trade, digitally-enabled services, renewable energy, green financing, as well as environmental services.
"We can and will do more to foster deeper people-to-people links between our two countries," he said.
In his speech, Wong said that while Singapore may not be able to do much to influence the course of US-China relations, the city state will do all that it can to keep the region open and inclusive.
He encouraged not only the US and China - but all major partners including the European Union, Japan and India - to build stakes in the region so as to foster economic interdependence and integration.
"Because for all of us in Singapore and Asean - this is not a matter of choosing sides; but it's about making choices for ourselves, advancing our collective interests, and doing what's best for our peoples."