Singapore Signed Agreements With the United States and China (Top 2 Trading Partners)
Despite its small physical size, Singapore sits astride the strategic route between the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea. Singapore is not only an important economic powerhouse in the world, but also a bellwether for economic confidence. As a trade-reliant country, Singapore has maintained a healthy trade relationship with both the United States and China. Today, the United States is a close strategic partner of Singapore where the two countries have forged a good relationship based on mutual economic interests, robust security, and defence cooperation, and China is one of Singapore’s top trading partners.
Singapore Enhances Cooperation in Finance and Market Building with the United States
The bilateral relationship between Singapore and the United States (US) achieved new heights when both countries inked a deal to boost partnerships in infrastructure finance and debt market development for infrastructure financing. The agreement was signed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education Indranee Rajah and US Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich, at the sidelines of the G20 Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting and annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.
“The agreement builds on broader initiatives between Singapore and the US, and aims to facilitate technical exchanges and information sharing to support and catalyse investments in infrastructure. Its implementation will expand bilateral economic cooperation, support the development of Southeast Asia’s infrastructure sector, and promote private sector investment in infrastructure,” according to a media release by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are the agencies that will execute the agreement.
Singapore Boosts Economic Ties with China
Singapore and China reaffirmed the strong bilateral relationship and economic cooperation as both countries closed a slew of deals and a series of Memoranda of Understanding following the successful conclusion of the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (“JCBC”) meeting in Chongqing. The JCBC meeting, which is the apex annual forum for steering bilateral relations between Singapore and China, was co-chaired by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng.
Among the agreements signed is the first bilateral internship exchange scheme for students and recent graduates of polytechnics and universities. The internship exchange will be launched next year where up to 500 Singaporean full-time students and recent graduates every year will have the opportunities to work at a China-based company of their choosing for a period of up to six months. Similarly, Chinese students will have internship opportunities at Singapore-based companies for up to six months.
Another agreement was the one between Ministry of Communications and Information of Singapore (“MCI”) and the Shenzhen government on the Smart City initiative. The Smart City Initiative, as the name suggests, will connect business ecosystems, promote links between people and businesses, as well as between Singapore and Shenzhen. Businesses will benefit from access to new opportunities in South East Asia and the Greater Bay Area consisting of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.
The agreement signed between Singapore Customs and its Chinese counterpart paves the way for smoother and better customs clearance for Singapore’s intergovernmental project in Chongqing.
In the JCBC meeting, the co-chairs also announced the commencement of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Upgrade Protocol. The free trade agreement was China’s first comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement with an Asian country. The upgrade reinforces the positive development of trade relationship of both countries. It will allow more petrochemical products to qualify for preferential treatment and, at the same time, allow Singapore companies to gain greater access into China’s legal, maritime and construction services sector. Further to that, the Upgrade Protocol has outlined improvements in investment protection, customs procedures and trade facilitation, trade remedial measures, and commitments in new areas such as e-commerce, competition, and the environment.