Singapore, China strengthen partnership with new deal

Under agreement, both countries will organise activities to further collaboration in third-party markets involved in the Belt and Road Initiative

Singapore and China have inked a deal that paves the way for closer partnerships between their companies in other countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Under the agreement, Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), China's top economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and Enterprise Singapore will identify sectors and markets of mutual interest and organise activities to promote cooperation between companies from both sides.

Both countries will work with other organisations to support businesses' financing and project structuring needs in third countries.

The MOU, signed by Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong and NDRC vice-chair Zhang Yong, is part of a new push by both countries to deepen bilateral relations through cooperation in the megaproject.

A second MOU on cultural cooperation was also inked.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang witnessed the signing at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse yesterday, the first day of PM Lee's five-day visit to China.

At a bilateral meeting before the signing, both leaders identified their countries' cooperation under the BRI as "a new highlight in our bilateral cooperation", the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

This cooperation includes infrastructural and financial connectivity, and third-country collaboration, including joint training for officials from Belt and Road countries.

The BRI is a plan to build infrastructure such as roads, railways, ports and industrial hubs to link some 65 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa.

Premier Li and PM Lee also reaffirmed the "close, deep and substantive bilateral relations" and welcomed the frequent high-level exchanges between both countries.

They also stressed the importance of maintaining an open and free trading system, and agreed to work towards concluding negotiations on the Asean-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade pact.