Singapore's business community is expanding its reach in one of our biggest trading partners.
The Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (SingCham), which promotes Singapore's economic interests in China, opened a new chapter in the major city of Chongqing, located in the Southwest.
Gracing the chapter's opening was Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, who is on a working visit to China from Apr 12 to 14.
"The Western China market is growing and I encourage SMEs keen to internationalise, to explore the vast opportunities here and beyond."
Chan met with over 30 delegates from the Singapore Business Federation, and also Chongqing Party Secretary Chen Min’er and Mayor Tang Liangzhi.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the politicians affirmed bilateral ties under the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative (CCI). Said Chan:
“I had a good meeting with Party Secretary Chen Min’er and Mayor Tang Liangzhi. We agreed that the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative (CCI) is making good progress and noted the strong potential to deepen our collaboration to spur progress of the Southern Transport Corridor as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
I am heartened that our SMEs have shown a high level of interest in the CCI and our collaboration has expanded beyond the four priority sectors, into areas such as healthcare and education."
The CCI is a joint project between Singapore and China to improve Chonqing's connectivity with the overland and sea routes of the Belt & Road Initiative.
The Southern Transport Corridor (STC) network is a new trade route between Western China and Southeast Asia.
Once integrated, the STC will connect Chongqing, its neighbour the Guangxi autonomous region, and the provinces of Guizhou and Gansu to President Xi Jinping's signature Belt & Road Initiative.
So it's a pretty big deal.
And it's not the first time that Chan has visited China and spoken about the CCI.
He was there on Aug. 31, 2017, to co-chair the third Joint Implementation Committee meeting of the CCI with then-Mayor Zhang Guoqing.
The CCI is the third government-to-government project between Singapore and China to help support the development of China's Western Region.
The other two are Tianjin Eco-city and Suzhou Industrial Park.
Singaporean politicians in China seem to be the flavour of the week, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited China from April 8 to 12, where he attended the Boao Forum for Asia and met with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Vice President Wang Qishan.
But Chongqing won't be the only stop on Chan's China travels.
He'll also be visiting Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province in Northwest China, where he'll meet with Governor Tang Renjian to discuss Gansu's participation in the CCI-Southern Transport Corridor.
Top image from Ministry of Trade and Industry.