14th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) and related meetings in Singapore

SM Teo Chee Hean | 20 September 2018

On the 14th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation and related meetings, co-chaired by DPM Teo Chee Hean, in Singapore on 20 September 2018.


Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean co-chaired the 14th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), 19th China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Joint Steering Council (JSC), 10th Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city JSC and the 2nd China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI) JSC meetings with Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Han Zheng in Singapore on 20 September 2018. 

DPM Teo warmly welcomed Vice Premier Han’s appointment as China’s co-Chair for the JCBC and JSCs, and said that Singapore looked forward to working closely with China to enhance bilateral cooperation and raise the Singapore-China friendship to a new level.

The 19th SIP JSC meeting commended SIP’s continued efforts to be at the forefront of China’s development, through collaboration in new dimensions such as innovation and technology, and replication of its experiences in Belt and Road projects. “Software” exchange remains a key element of Singapore’s cooperation with the SIP. Building on the strong foundation, the SIP Attachment Programme (SAP) will help officials from MTI and our economic agencies to exchange experiences and have a better understanding of China’s development priorities. 

At the 10th SSTEC JSC meeting, Singapore and China reaffirmed the achievements of the Eco-city, and reiterated their commitment for the Eco-city to maintain its position as a forerunner in eco-city development. Both sides also agreed to go beyond the physical development of the Eco-city by promoting the replication of the Eco-city’s development experience in other Chinese cities, as well as along the Belt and Road regions in future in line with its vision to be a practical, replicable and scalable model for sustainable development.

The 2nd CCI JSC meeting affirmed the good progress made by the CCI in cross-border financing, which has reduced the financing costs for businesses. More flights between the two cities has contributed to higher passenger traffic, which grew by more than 30% in 2017. Singapore companies have embarked on numerous projects with Chongqing counterparts in sectors ranging from tourism to smart city development and agriculture. Areas of collaboration have also expanded to include professional services, education and healthcare. 

The CCI-Southern Transport Corridor (CCI-STC) has made strong progress. Singapore and Chongqing companies have formed joint ventures - the Sino-Singapore Chongqing Connectivity Solutions (SSCCS) and the Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) DC Multimodal Logistics (SSDCML) - to drive the new trade route’s development. Singapore and China are committed to developing innovative measures to develop the CCI-STC into a seamless multimodal corridor between Southeast Asia and Western China, substantively connecting the New Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. 

The 14th JCBC meeting reviewed bilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative, economic transformation and trade liberalisation, financial cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, inclusive and sustainable development and state-level bilateral cooperation projects.  The co-Chairs agreed that bilateral cooperation has evolved in line with our two countries’ changing development priorities and there are many opportunities for deepening and broadening cooperation and exchanges.  They welcomed more mutually beneficial cooperation under the B&R Initiative, including in infrastructural connectivity, financial connectivity, third country cooperation & training, and in professional and legal & judicial services, covering cooperation in mediation, arbitration and dispute resolution.  The meeting also welcomed the commencement of negotiations on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) which will strengthen bilateral legal cooperation and boost legal protection along the B&R.  

The co-Chairs reaffirmed the commitment to a substantive upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement by the end of 2018.  Both sides agreed to expand collaboration in Fintech and capital markets to build closer financial linkages.  The meeting also welcomed the establishment of a Singapore-Shanghai cooperation council at the Ministerial-Mayoral level.  Both sides also agreed to explore a reciprocal internship programme between youths and students of our two countries. The Tang cargo in the Asian Civilisations Museum will also be exhibited in the Shanghai Museum in 2020.  Both sides also look forward to the convening of the 7th Sino-Singapore Leadership Forum in China in 2019 and to continuing exchanges under the Sino-Singapore Social Governance Forum.  

Following the meetings, the co-Chairs witnessed the signing of 7 Memorandums of Understanding on (i) Promoting the Replication of the Eco-city’s Development Experience; (ii) Collaboration between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Suzhou Municipal Government on Deepening Exchanges through the Attachment of Singapore Government Officials to Suzhou; (iii) Cooperation in the Training of Senior Officials between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chongqing Organisation Department; (iv)Strengthening Exchanges in the Arts between the National Arts Council and China National Arts Fund; (v)  Establishment of NUS’s Research Institute in Chongqing Liangjiang New Area to Strengthen Cooperation with Western China in Research, Technology Transfer & Commercialisation and Training; (vi) Collaboration between Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the SIP Administrative Committee (SIPAC) on Furthering Cooperation in Entrepreneurship, Technological Innovation and Commercialisation; and (vii) Establishment of an International Intellectual Property Innovation Service Centre in the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City.  

On the Singapore side, the JCBC and related JSC meetings were attended by Deputy Co-chair Minister (Finance) Heng Swee Keat, Minister (Foreign Affairs) Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister (Culture, Community and Youth) Grace Fu, Minister (Trade and Industry) Chan Chun Sing, (Minister (National Development) and Second Minister (Finance) Lawrence Wong, Minister (Environment and Water Resources) Masagos Zulkifli, Minister (Education) Ong Ye Kung, Minister (Manpower) Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State (Communications and Information) (Culture, Community and Youth) Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State (Trade and Industry) (Education) Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State (Trade and Industry) Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State (Law) (Health) Edwin Tong and Senior Parliamentary Secretary (National Development) (Home Affairs) Sun Xueling. 

Vice Premier Han will make courtesy calls on President Halimah Yacob and PM Lee Hsien Loong on 21 September 2018 before concluding his visit to Singapore.  
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Annex A  (pdf, 236.53KB)