DPM Lawrence Wong at the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation and Related Joint Steering Council Meetings

DPM Lawrence Wong | 7 December 2023

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong co-chaired the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation and Related Joint Steering Council Meetings in Tianjin on 7 December 2023.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong co-chaired the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), 24th China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) Joint Steering Council (JSC), 15th Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City (TEC) JSC, and the 7th China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI) JSC meetings with Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Ding Xuexiang in Tianjin, China, on 7 December 2023.

Bilateral Meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding

Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding had a bilateral meeting prior to the JCBC and related JSC meetings. They reaffirmed the excellent ties between Singapore and China following the upgrade of the relationship to an “All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented Partnership” earlier this year. The two JCBC co-Chairs also reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to continue making full use of the JCBC as the apex platform to review and chart the strategic direction for bilateral cooperation.

Both leaders welcomed the increase in high-level exchanges and the broadening of areas of cooperation since the upgrading of relations. They also affirmed the importance of promoting greater people and business flows between both countries, as well as exploring collaborations to deepen connectivity, including cross-border financial connectivity. Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding noted the impact of global geopolitical tensions, climate change and the digital revolution on lives and livelihoods, and tasked the relevant officials to continue their collaborations in areas that would enhance both countries’ readiness and ability to address such challenges, such as agriculture and food security, renewable and marine energy, and green and digital shipping.

19th JCBC saw 24 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and agreements announced 

The 19th JCBC meeting reviewed the progress of bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), trade, sustainability, agriculture, food security, digital economy, smart cities, green economy, science and innovation, renewable energy, finance, public health, as well as the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, which is a State-Level Bilateral Cooperation Project.

Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding agreed that Singapore-China cooperation had been comprehensive and progressive, evolving over the years in tandem with each countries’ respective development priorities. They also agreed that both sides should continue to adopt a forward-leaning approach and tap on opportunities in emerging areas to deliver high-quality outcomes that would benefit both countries as well as contribute to regional prosperity. In this regard, Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding welcomed the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) Further Upgrade Protocol to deepen cooperation. The two co-Chairs also welcomed the new efforts in reinvigorating bilateral cooperation on the TEC at its 15th anniversary, with a focus on developing the TEC to seize new opportunities in the green and digital economy. As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen people-to-people links, both sides agreed to deepen cultural and educational exchanges. The people movements will be facilitated by a mutual 30-day visa exemption arrangement. Both sides are working out the operational details, with the aim to implement in early 2024. Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding also committed to furthering bilateral ties through exchanges on leadership development and social governance.

24 MOUs and agreements were announced at the JCBC:

a) China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) Further Upgrade Protocol

b) MOU between MTI and PRC Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) 
on Deepening Cooperation in Trade in Services

c) MOU between MOE and PRC Ministry of Education (MOE) on Exchanges and Cooperation in the Field of Education

d) Upgrade of MOU between MSE and PRC Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) on Environmental Cooperation

e) MOU between MND and PRC Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MHURD) on Strengthening Cooperation on Climate-Friendly and Liveable Cities

f) MOU between NRF and the PRC Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on a Singapore-China Science and Technology People-To-People Exchange Programme

g) MOU between MSE and PRC Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) on Agriculture and Food Security Cooperation

h) MOU between MND and Tianjin Municipal Government (TMG) on Strengthening Tianjin Eco-City’s Green and Low-Carbon Environment and Economy to Achieve High-Quality Development

i) MOU between MOH and Chongqing Municipal People’s Government on Health Cooperation

j) Strengthening People-to-People Exchanges: Mutual 30-day Visa Exemption Arrangement

k) Announcement of the Establishment of the Singapore-China Digital Policy Dialogue

l) Upgrade of MOU between MSE and PRC Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) on Water Cooperation in the Field of Water Resources

m) Cross-border Pilot Usage of E-CNY for Tourism

n) Renewal of MOU between IRAS and PRC State Taxation Administration (STA)

o) MOU between ACRA and PRC State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on the Incorporation and Registration of Business Entities

p) Launch of the Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) Product Link between SGX and the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE)

q) Resumption of Staff Exchange between MAS and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC)

r) MOU between Singapore Exchange Limited and Guangzhou Futures Exchanges Limited

s) MOU between MTI and PRC National Energy Administration (NEA) on Energy Cooperation

t) Renewal of MOU between NHB and PRC National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA) on the Exploration of Mutual Exchanges and Cooperation in the Fields of Cultural Heritage

u) MOU between MPA and Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission on Cooperation on Green and Digital Shipping Corridor  

v) MOU between NParks and Eco-City Administrative Committee (ECAC) on Contemplative Landscape and Therapeutic Gardens

w) MOU between IMDA and Beijing Municipal Commerce on International Information Industry and Digital Trade Harbor Cooperation

x) MOU between JTC Corporation and the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee (SIPAC) on Deepening Cooperation in Digitalisation and Sustainability

24th SIP JSC Meeting

The 24th SIP JSC Meeting reaffirmed the SIP’s role as a pathfinder and inspiration for Singapore-China collaboration. Noting the achievements of the SIP in 2023, both sides expressed support for the progress made in areas such as green development, biomedical sciences, innovation, and people-to-people exchanges, which brought new collaboration opportunities to both sides and fostered partnerships between Singapore and Chinese businesses. In anticipation of the SIP’s 30th anniversary next year, both sides looked forward to developing a stronger cooperation agenda through a 10-year Cooperation Blueprint which aims to pave the way for the next phase of the SIP’s development.

15th SSTEC JSC Meeting

At the Eco-City’s 15th anniversary, the 15th SSTEC JSC Meeting reaffirmed the progress both countries have achieved in shaping the TEC into a leading model of sustainable and liveable cities over the past 15 years. To guide the next bound of the TEC’s development, Singapore and China unveiled a new project collaboration framework that will strengthen the TEC as a pathfinder for climate-friendly cities, and broaden bilateral cooperation to span green growth, low-carbon living, ecological resilience, innovation and talent development, and governance. Both countries have put together 15 cooperation initiatives covering wide-ranging domains under this new framework to deepen partnerships across the public sector, businesses, and academia in both countries. Both sides also welcomed the TEC being a first demonstration of the upgraded bilateral partnership between Singapore and China and the benefits it can deliver to our peoples.

7th CCI JSC Meeting

The 7th CCI JSC meeting welcomed the CCI’s progress, and emphasised its continued importance in enhancing connectivity between Southeast Asia and Western China. Both sides recognised the role of the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor in promoting economic integration between Southeast Asia and Western China, including through new initiatives in areas such as the digital economy, green economy, and supply chain connectivity. We also welcomed the advancement made in other areas of collaboration such as research and innovation, and healthcare. Both sides expressed firm commitment to the CCI partnership, and to bring the CCI to new heights, especially as it approaches its 10th anniversary in 2025.

On the Singapore side, the JCBC and related JSC meetings were attended by Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Education and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Acting Minister for Transport and Senior Minister of State (Finance) Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State (Sustainability and the Environment)(Transport) Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State (Foreign Affairs)(National Development) Sim Ann, Minister of State (Culture, Community and Youth)(Trade and Industry) Low Yen Ling, and Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Law)(Health) Rahayu Mahzam.

Tianjin Eco-City 15th Anniversary (TEC15) Commemorative Events

Following the JCBC and related JSC meetings, Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding will jointly attend activities in the TEC to commemorate TEC15. At the Sino-Singapore Friendship Library, Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding will visit a TEC15 exhibition showcasing the TEC’s transformation over the past 15 years, and the 15 new initiatives to enhance bilateral cooperation in the next bound of its development. They will also unveil an orchid named after TEC15 – “Papilionanda Tianjin Eco-City 15th Anniversary” – to celebrate this special milestone. At the Sino-Singapore Friendship Garden, Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding will plant a Spruce tree – a symbol of both countries’ friendship. The two leaders will also officiate the ground-breaking ceremony for the Green Innovation Park in the TEC’s City Centre, which is set to further strengthen the TEC as a “living lab” for piloting innovative net-zero solutions and scaling them to Tianjin and beyond.

Deputy Prime Minister Wong will also meet Tianjin Party Secretary Chen Min’er later this evening.

* * * * *


Foreign affairs