Singapore and Chongqing can take advantage of the Chinese city's free-trade zone (FTZ) and explore cooperating in new areas, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing yesterday.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a ministerial dialogue with the Singaporean community in Beijing after he witnessed the signing ceremony of 10 commercial pacts between Singapore and Chongqing companies as part of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI).
The total value of the deals is about US$1.4 billion (S$1.97 billion).
The CCI is Singapore and China's third joint project.
It aims to help drive growth in China's less developed western region by improving Chongqing's transport and services links to the region and beyond.
Mr Chan said Singapore and Chongqing could look to co-operate in new sectors such as medicine, education and infrastructure under the FTZ.
"We could link up the CCI concept with the new FTZ concept, and we are excited by this," said Mr Chan.
In an interview with China's Xinhua news agency yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said much progress has been achieved in the CCI project.
In financial services, more than US$6 billion worth of cross-border deals have been agreed and completed, helping Chongqing-based companies access cost-efficient funding here, he said.
Both sides are in talks to develop a new direct trade route that will connect Chongqing to South-east Asia via the Beibu Gulf in southern Guangxi.
A Singapore-Chongqing Digital Super Highway that promises greater high-speed information technology connectivity between western China and South-east Asia is also in the works, he added.
As part of the commercial signings, two new projects to expand Chongqing's transport links to South-east Asia and Central Asia were launched.
They are the Chongqing Logistics Development Platform (CLDP) and the Multi-Modal Distribution and Connectivity Centre (DC).
The CLDP, a company set up to do logistics planning, will develop standards and best practices for the transport and logistics industry.
The DC is a logistics hub that caters to transport modes such as river, rail and air, said IE Singapore.
The agency will form a work group with Chongqing's municipal government to oversee and support the roll-out of these two projects.
"We hope the projects will serve as a model for future co-operation and play a leading role in spearheading other similar projects," said Mr Tang Zongwei, chairman of the Chongqing Liangjiang New Area Development and Investment Group.
It is taking part in both projects with other Singapore and Chongqing players.
The other eight agreements signed cover areas in transport and logistics, information and communication technology, finance and healthcare.
This article was first published on February 27, 2017.
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