15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation and Related Joint Steering Council Meetings

DPM Heng Swee Keat | 15 October 2019

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat co-chaired the 15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation and Related Joint Steering Council Meetings in Chongqing on 15 October 2019. 


Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat co-chaired the 15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), 20th China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) Joint Steering Council (JSC), 11th Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City (SSTEC) JSC and the 3rd 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 Chongqing on 15 October 2019.

DPM Heng and Vice Premier Han had a bilateral meeting prior to the start of the 15th JCBC and JSC meetings, where they exchanged views on the excellent state of Singapore-China relations since the 14th JCBC and related JSC meetings last year. Both sides looked forward to working closely to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in existing and new areas.

15th JCBC saw 9 MOUs and agreements inked

The 15th JCBC meeting reviewed bilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); economic transformation and trade liberalisation; financial cooperation; innovation, inclusive and sustainable development; people-to-people exchanges, as well as state-level bilateral cooperation projects. The co-Chairs welcomed the launch of the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative, which will connect business ecosystems and strengthen the linkages between the people and businesses of Singapore and Shenzhen and enable both sides to benefit from the opportunities in Southeast Asia and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Great Bay Area. The co-Chairs reaffirmed both sides’ commitment to free and open trade and announced the entry-into-force of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Upgrade Protocol, which will further strengthen bilateral trade and investment linkages. Both sides concluded an agreement to implement a new Youth Interns Exchange Scheme between Singapore and China, which will facilitate internships for tertiary students and recent graduates from universities and technical and vocational institutions. Both sides announced new initiatives to strengthen capital market activities between Singapore and China. These measures will facilitate the growing interest of financial institutions based in Singapore and China to expand in each other’s markets. Both sides also announced that they will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Legal Cooperation between the Singapore Ministry of Law and the PRC Ministry of Justice.

The co-Chairs also agreed that Singapore and China should continue to deepen current areas of cooperation such as trade, finance, legal and judicial cooperation and human resource development, as well as enhance collaboration in new areas that will address our common challenges for the future. The leaders directed the officials to develop and prepare a series of events and projects to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Singapore-China diplomatic relations next year.

Following the meeting, the co-Chairs witnessed the signing of nine MOUs and agreements:

a) MOU on China-Singapore (Chongqing) Customs Twinning Cooperation;
b) MOU on Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative;
c) Agreement on the Youth Interns Exchange Scheme;
d) Framework Agreement on the Exchange Programme with Middle-To Senior-Level Officials (2020-2024);
e) Collaboration Agreement in Relation to the China-Singapore International Technology Innovation Cooperation Demonstration Area in the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City;
f) Agreement on Intangible Asset Management with SIP;
g) MOU on Implementation Framework for the Promotion of the Replication of the SSTEC’s Development Experience;
h) MOU on the Establishment of the Senior Officials’ Meeting to Jointly Promote the Development of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor; and
i) CCI Agreement between Chongqing and Singapore on International Dedicated Connectivity.

20th SIP JSC Meeting marked 25th anniversary this year

The 20th SIP JSC meeting commended the SIP for its progress as it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Both sides expressed support for the SIP to continue playing a pathfinder role as China’s development moves into a new era, and to be an important node in the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta Region. To this end, both sides will strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas such as third-party markets cooperation under the BRI, innovation and services, and software and people-to-people exchanges. Both sides will also leverage the Jiangsu Free Trade Zone to explore collaboration in new areas, in support of the next wave of China’s opening up.

Tianjin Eco-city to maintain leading eco-city position: 11th SSTEC JSC

At the 11th SSTEC JSC meeting, Singapore and China reiterated their commitment for Tianjin Eco-city to maintain its position as a leading eco-city by pushing the frontier on green and smart developments. Both sides also affirmed initiatives to promote the replication of the Eco-city’s development experience. This will expand the impact of our bilateral cooperation in the Eco-city to other cities in China, as well as in countries participating in the BRI.

Good progress at 3rd CCI JSC

The 3rd CCI JSC meeting reaffirmed the good progress made by the CCI in the four priority areas of collaboration – financial services, aviation, transport and logistics, and information and communications technology. In particular, both sides reaffirmed the importance of the CCI International Dedicated Connectivity (IDC) launched in September this year in strengthening the digital linkages between Singapore and Chongqing, and through them to Southeast Asia and Western China. Both sides agreed to establish two IDC Working Groups to (a) improve connectivity performance, and (b) collaborate on policy innovations and joint projects. The meeting also acknowledged the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor’s (ILSTC) role in promoting trade and connectivity between both regions and agreed to establish a Senior Officials Meeting to drive its development. 

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15 OCTOBER 2019

Foreign affairs