Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong began the Beijing leg of his visit to China today.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong called on Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Qiang, during which they reaffirmed the longstanding and strong Singapore-China relationship, which has been recently upgraded to an “All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented Partnership” (全方位 高质量的前瞻性伙伴关系). Both sides took stock of the comprehensive range and the growth of our bilateral cooperation, which includes our three Government-to-Government projects in Suzhou, Tianjin, and Chongqing; the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City; the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative; our eight Provincial Business Councils, as well as other institutionalised platforms such as the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), the Singapore-China Forum on Leadership, the Social Governance Forum, and the Singapore-China Legal and Judicial Roundtable.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Premier Li exchanged views on how both sides could further enhance cooperation, especially in new areas like digitalisation, energy and sustainability. They also agreed on the need for more people-to-people exchanges, and the importance of restoring flight connectivity and facilitating people flows.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong also met Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Ding Xuexiang, who hosted him to dinner. They reaffirmed the continued importance of the JCBC as the apex platform for overseeing and providing strategic directions to bilateral cooperation. They also looked forward to co-chairing the 19th JCBC in China later this year.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding discussed ways to keep up the positive momentum in bilateral cooperation and deepen collaboration in both traditional and emerging areas, including trade and investments, finance and capital markets, the digital economy, and green development. They also discussed how bilateral projects could have demonstrative effect in third countries, including through the Belt and Road Initiative.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding further spoke about the key milestones of our bilateral cooperation. The Tianjin Eco-City marks its 15th anniversary this year, while the Suzhou Industrial Park will commemorate its 30th anniversary next year. Both sides agreed on the importance of continually updating these bilateral projects in line with the evolving requirements and needs of our respective countries.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong and Vice Premier Ding looked forward to the signing of the Protocol of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Subsequent Negotiations this year, following its substantive conclusion on 1 April 2023. They also welcomed the good progress made on implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and in the ongoing negotiations on the upgrade of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area. Deputy Prime Minister Wong expressed in-principle support for China’s interest to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which would require China to adhere to the CPTPP’s high-standard rules and comprehensive market access commitments. This also has to be worked out between China and all CPTPP members, on the basis of consensus. Deputy Prime Minister Wong welcomed China’s application to the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) in accordance with the rules and procedures of the agreement.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong was also hosted to lunch by Minister of Finance Liu Kun. They reaffirmed the strong and longstanding partnership between the Finance Ministries and Central Banks of Singapore and China. This year marked the 10th anniversary of RMB clearing in Singapore, and both sides looked forward to greater connectivity between capital markets. They also explored opportunities for Singapore and China to enhance financial cooperation both bilaterally and at multilateral platforms such as ASEAN+3 and the G20.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong will meet Minister of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Organisation Department Li Ganjie tomorrow.
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PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE
16 MAY 2023