Singapore and China boosted their cooperation on numerous fronts on Thursday after inking a slew of agreements at a top-level meeting in China.  

“The [agreement] will establish more business-friendly, liberal and transparent rules to promote greater trade and investment between Singapore and China,” said Singaporean Minister of Trade & Industry Gan Kim Yong. 

He said this at the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting in Tianjin, China.  

Greater market access

The agreement will give Singapore greater market access to China’s services sectors. China also committed to not limiting equity investments for Singapore investors in two dozen sectors.  

“Singapore investors and service suppliers will also enjoy more liberal and transparent rules that level the playing field for them to invest in and trade with China,” the Singaporean Ministry of Trade & Industry said in a release on Thursday.  

Additionally, Singapore and China agreed to deepen collaboration for innovation and development of their telecommunications industries.  

“I hope businesses will tap on this enhanced agreement to seize opportunities in China and I look forward to working more closely with my Chinese counterparts to enhance our cooperation in areas of mutual interest.” 

The agreement comes as an upgrade to the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which first came into force in 2009. It has been upgraded twice since, once in 2019 and now this year.  

In 2021, China was Singapore’s fourth largest trading partner with regards to its services industry while Singapore was China’s third largest. 

Slew of agreements

This agreement was one of 24 agreements inked between the two countries at the meeting.  

The other agreements included a 30-day mutual visa exemption agreement between the two nations, as well as a slew of initiatives within the domains of digital finance and capital markets. 

Some of the new initiatives will see travelers from both countries able to use e-CNY, the digital currency issued by China’s central bank, for tourism spending in Singapore and China.  

The launch of exchange-traded funds, or ETF, product links between the Singapore Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange was also an agreement worth noting. 

This will open up greater collaboration opportunities between fund managers in both markets and improve investors’ access to ETF products in each other’s markets, the Monetary Authority of Singapore noted in a separate release on Thursday.  

“It has been a fruitful year of financial cooperation between Singapore and China,” said MAS Deputy Managing Director of Markets & Development Leong Sing Chiong. 

“MAS welcomes the new initiatives in digital finance and capital markets connectivity, as these will catalyse new financial flows between our financial centres, and deepen trade and economic relations between our economies.”