BEIJING: Singapore and China are working to step up their collaboration in five areas in the financial sector, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Thursday (Jun 29).
He was speaking to Singapore media on the last day of his visit to China and after his meeting with leaders of China’s financial agencies in Beijing, including with Mr Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, and Mr Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission.
First, he said Singapore wants to support project financing for the Belt and Road infrastructural projects. Singapore is already the major location for project financing in Southeast Asia, so it can play a useful role there, he said.
Second, Mr Tharman said banks on both sides are increasingly active in each other’s markets, and both the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Beijing regulators are keen to see that grow.
The third area concerns capital market linkages between Singapore and China. Some of the existing schemes are working well, and Singapore wants to see how it can build on that, especially in the bond markets, as that takes advantage of Singapore’s distinct strengths, he said.
The fourth area is the money market. The two countries are working to develop long-term renminbi market instruments that can help investors manage risks related to the financing of infrastructural projects, Mr Tharman said.
Fifth, Singapore and China are working on joint training cooperation for officials from Belt and Road countries in the area of finance, including project preparation and project financing.
Details on the five areas are still being worked out, but Mr Tharman said he hopes to have more details by the next China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting – the highest-level forum between the two countries.
SINGAPORE, CHINA SHOULD CHERISH TIES: THARMAN
During his five-day visit to China, Mr Tharman visited Beijing, Dalian and Tianjin. While in Dalian, he called on Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the 2017 World Economic Forum Summer Davos, and in Beijing, he met Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli at Zhongnanhai, China’s leadership compound.
Mr Tharman and Mr Zhang discussed three platforms related to China’s Belt and Road initiative, which aims to connect China to the rest of Asia, Europe and beyond. These include improving connectivity, financial sector cooperation and collaboration in the training of third countries as part of the Belt and Road scheme.
Mr Tharman also said his visit builds on the momentum of earlier visits by other Singapore ministers to China this year – 13 in all in just the first six months – across a range of areas.
“It’s a level of interaction that’s not incidental because the constant communication really helps – keeps up the relationship, keeps finding ways to evolve it,” he said.
Describing his meetings as fruitful, Mr Tharman said what came across clearly was that the relationship between Singapore and China has been built up over many years.
“Both sides should cherish it and move ahead with full effort on our forward-looking agenda. That is the spirit of it and it came across in both the high-level meetings, as well as in various other interactions,” he said.