The trade ministers of China and Singapore said at an investment cooperation meeting on Thursday that they saw potentials and opportunities to boost bilateral investment cooperation between the two countries.
Representatives from both sides at the fourth meeting of the China-Singapore Investment Promotion Committee here covered topics such as the investment by Singapore enterprises in China, Chinese enterprises going international, free trade zones and services trade cooperation.
China's Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng and Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang jointly presided over the meeting, where the two sides had in-depth discussions and achieved consensus on a wide range of topics.
Gao said that the reforms blueprint outlined at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in November last year include many measures to improve the investment environment in China and facilitate overseas investments by Chinese enterprises.
China and Singapore should try to deepen the cooperation involving Singapore investment in China and give more support to Chinese enterprises going international, and that they should continue pushing forward the development of the industrial parks in China involving Singapore investors and work together on efforts to build the 21st century maritime Silk Road, the minister said.
Bilateral trade in goods between China and Singapore grew by 9. 6 percent year on year to 75.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, while services trade grew by 5.9 percent to hit 19.3 billion U.S. dollars.
Investment made by Singapore investors in China in 2013 grew by 14.7 percent year on year to 7.23 billion U.S. dollars, while investment in the other direction surged by 78.2 percent to hit 2. 41 billion U.S. dollars.
As both China and Singapore are now making efforts to upgrade and transform their economies, the ongoing process will lead to more possibilities of complementary trade and economic cooperation, Gao said.
Lim agreed with the proposed efforts highlighted by his Chinese counterpart.
He said that Singapore is keen to work together with the Chinese side to promote cooperation between the enterprises of both countries, especially participation of Singapore businesses in China's growth. He highlighted healthcare and medical services, education, logistics, environment and urban development as some of the sectors where Singapore would like to see its enterprises further increase their investments in China.
He also said that Singapore is willing to work together with China to promote the exchanges and cooperation on regional economic integration.
China became Singapore's largest trading partner in 2013, while Singapore has been the leading foreign investor among the Southeast Asian countries in the Chinese mainland market since 1980 and further became the largest foreign investor in China in 2013, though it cannot compare with China's Hong Kong.
The number of Chinese companies that have operations in Singapore also grew from 766 in 2000 to more than 5,200 in 2013.
Gao also attended a breakfast meeting with business leaders from both countries on Thursday together with Lee Yi Shyan, Singapore's senior minister of state for trade and industry and national development.
The China-Singapore Investment Promotion Committee was established in 2005. Its first three meetings were held in Beijing in 2007, 2010 and 2012, respectively.