Singapore and China Sign Three MOUs, Boost Business Ties

Posted by Written by Giulia Interesse Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Singapore-China Economic Partnership Conference held on February 1, 2024, saw the signing of three crucial Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), signaling a significant step towards boosting trade and investment ties between the two countries.

On February 1, 2024, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) recently joined forces to host the Singapore-China Economic Partnership Conference. Themed “Trade & Investment Opportunities through Enhanced Connectivity” (互联互通:新经贸契机), the event aimed to bolster bilateral trade and investment between the two nations.

Present at the conference were Ms. Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Culture, Community, and Youth, and Mr. Zong Changqing, Minister Counsellor (Economic & Commercial Office) from the Embassy of The People’s Republic of China in Singapore. The gathering attracted around 200 business leaders and government officials.

During the event, three Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were signed to enhance business relationships, strengthen intellectual property protection, and support business mediation and arbitration. These agreements mark a significant step forward in enhancing the economic relationship between Singapore and China, aimed at enhancing business relationships.

What was discussed?

According to SBF Chairman Lim Ming Yan, despite the anticipated slowdown in global economic growth, China remains a significant market for Singapore, with local companies expressing optimism about their prospects in the Chinese market. Lim urged SBF members to strengthen their ties with Chinese counterparts and seek out new areas for collaboration.

Ren Hongbin, Chairman of CCPIT, highlighted China’s ongoing high-level opening-up and modernization efforts, which he believes will continue to offer new opportunities for Singapore and the global community. Ren also noted the fruitful collaboration between Chinese and Singaporean enterprises in various sectors such as infrastructure, financial technology, legal services, and third-party market cooperation. He invited Singaporean enterprises to participate in Chinese exhibitions, including the upcoming second China International Supply Chain Expo, to leverage additional opportunities.

What are the MOUs about?

The three signed MOUs at the conference cover distinct scopes aimed at fortifying cooperation between Singapore and China:

  • The first MOU, reestablished between SBF and CCPIT, prioritizes the facilitation of business activities to promote the advancement of commercial and industrial relations between Singapore and China.
  • The second MOU emphasizes providing capacity-building support for enterprises from China and Singapore in intellectual property protection, management, and dispute resolution, and it was signed between the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and CCPIT Commercial and Legal Service Center.
  • The third MOU was established between CCPIT Commercial Legal Service Centre and Singapore International Mediation Centre, along with the Joint Declaration on the Provision of Legal Services for Regional Economic Development. This agreement aims to offer mediation and arbitration support for businesses from both countries, serving as an alternative dispute resolution platform to foster trade and investment cooperation in the region.

Additionally to the MOUs, a Letter of Intent was signed between China International Exhibition Center Group Co., Ltd and participating companies in the 2nd China International Supply Chain Expo scheduled for November 26 to 30, 2024.

Singapore-China business ties

Singapore stands as China’s 9th largest trading partner, while China holds the position of Singapore’s 3rd largest trading partner. This accounted for 10.1 percent of Singapore’s total external trade in 2023.

Moreover, according to SBF’s National Business Survey 2023/24, China is the second-largest country where Singapore companies have an overseas presence and the fourth country where they are planning future overseas expansions.

The Chinese market’s appeal to Singapore businesses lies in its strong growth potential, well-developed trade infrastructure, and market readiness, while Singapore offers Chinese companies connectivity and access to booming opportunities in the ASEAN region.

On January 25, 2024, the two countries also formally announced their decision to adopt a visa exemption policy for their nationals, enabling visits of up to 30 days. Starting February 9, 2024, individuals carrying regular passports and embarking on trips for tourism, family visits, or business reasons will enjoy the advantages of this fresh arrangement. Signed in Beijing, the agreement represents a notable advancement in fostering stronger bonds between the two countries and streamlining travel for their citizens.

This move, along with the signing of the three MOUs, highlights the deepening economic ties and the commitment of both Singapore and China to fostering stronger bilateral relations, facilitating smoother travel experiences, and exploring new avenues for mutual growth and cooperation between the two nations.

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