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Singapore, Chongqing ink joint venture deals to enhance connectivity

SINGAPORE — Singapore and Chongqing sealed two joint venture agreements on Thursday (Aug 31) that would support an initiative by the Chinese government to enhance connectivity between Western China and South-east Asia.

Singapore, Chongqing ink joint venture deals to enhance connectivity

From left: Minister in Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing, Chongqing Party Secretary Chen Min’er and Chongqing Mayor Zhang Guoqing at the third Joint Implementation Committee meeting of the CCI. Photo: MTI

SINGAPORE — Singapore and Chongqing sealed two joint venture agreements on Thursday (Aug 31) that would support an initiative by the Chinese government to enhance connectivity between Western China and South-east Asia.

The inauguration of the joint ventures was witnessed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing and Chongqing Mayor Zhang Guoqing, as they co-chaired the third Joint Implementation Committee meeting of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative (CCI).

Both the joint ventures, known as the Chongqing Logistics Development Platform (CLDP) and the Multi-Modal Distribution and Connectivity (DC) Centre, will help develop Chongqing into an inland international logistics hub and contribute to the development of the CCI Southern Transport Corridor, said a press statement by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

The corridor “will boost trade and connectivity between Western China and Asean (Association of South-east Asian Nations) via Chongqing and Singapore,” said Mr Chan.

“It will also offer opportunities for Singapore businesses to contribute to the development in areas such as transportation and logistics.”

The minister added that he is glad that Chinese and Singapore businesses have made good progress on the transport corridor. “I look forward to greater collaborations,” he said.

After the CCI meeting, Mr Chan also met Chongqing Party Secretary Chen Min’er. 

“Mr Chan reaffirmed the strong and broad-based ties between Singapore and China, and the two leaders also discussed ways to deepen collaboration under the CCI,” said MTI’s statement. “Party Secretary Chen said the CCI is an important project and reiterated his commitment to its success.”

Mr Chen was appointed as Chongqing Party Secretary in July after his predecessor Sun Zhengcai was abruptly removed from office. Sun is under investigation by the Communist Party’s graft watchdog for “serious violations of party discipline”, a euphemism for corruption.

The CLDP joint venture will develop multi-modal logistics standards and practices for river, rail, air and road transport modes, and facilitate the development of logistics facilities and services such as supply chain solutions, said a separate press statement by International Enterprise Singapore.

This will support the development of cargo train services along the CCI Southern Transport Corridor from Chongqing to Beibu Gulf in Guangxi. Via rail, freight time from the Chinese south-western coastal region to Chongqing will be reduced to fewer than three days, from the current 10 days through the Yangtze River route. 

“This benefits traders exporting from South-east Asia for distribution in West China. Compared to air freight and sea-land connections, sea-rail connection is the most effective for companies exporting to inland markets, especially for perishable products,” noted the IE statement. The DC Centre will implement the CLDP’s logistics solutions and serve as a physical facility for multi-modal operations in Chongqing.

Singapore and China have made President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative a key focus area for bilateral cooperation. Both sides are looking to enhance physical as well as digital connectivity, and the CCI is seen as a concrete demonstration of this effort.

The CCI, launched two years ago, is the third Singapore-China government-to-government project to support China’s Western Region Development strategy. 

The other two flagship projects for China-Singapore government-to-government cooperation are Tianjin Eco-city and Suzhou Industrial Park.

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