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Chinese premier proposes four priority fields for cooperation with Singapore
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08:08, November 20, 2007

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Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao proposed Monday four priority fields for its cooperation with Singapore.

Firstly, the two countries should launch new flagship projects in bilateral business cooperation, Wen said at a dinner hosted by Singapore-China Friendship Association and Singaporean Business Community Monday evening.

The Chinese premier spoke highly of the "Eco-City" project now under discussion between the two sides, saying it is of far-reaching importance.

China will draw on Singapore's successful practices in urban development, environmental protection and water resource management in light of China's conditions and work to build a new city that is environment-friendly and resource-conserving and make it a new pacesetter of bilateral cooperation.

Secondly, the two sides should jointly promote the building of bilateral free trade area (FTA).

In just over a year since April 2006, four rounds of intensive FTA negotiations have been conducted, and the progress made in the negotiations reflects the sincerity of both countries to reach early agreement, he said.

"On the basis of mutual benefit, reciprocity and friendly consultation, China will work with Singapore to make further progress in the negotiations so that our two peoples will enjoy the benefit of a free trade area at an early date," the premier said.

Thirdly, the two countries should provide better services to facilitate business cooperation.

Wen suggested that the two governments take various measures to support Chinese and Singaporean companies eager to build stronger business ties.

The two sides should promote exchanges and cooperation between the business communities through the Singapore-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Website and run trade and investment seminars to provide a platform for the companies to jointly open other markets, he said.

Fourthly, the two countries should expand cooperation in services as Singapore has a developed service sector and is an international leader in shipping, logistics, financing, environmental protection and tourism, while China has a huge market, a large pool of professionals and abundant labor resources.

"To grow China-Singapore business relations not only serves the interests of our two peoples, but also contributes to development and prosperity of our region," he said.

The Chinese premier expressed his hope that the two sides will seize the opportunity and work together to build stronger business ties.

Wen noted that cooperation between China and Singapore in various fields has grown rapidly and economic cooperation and trade have flourished since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990.

Singapore is China's largest partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while China is the second largest trading partner of Singapore.

Since 2004, the annual trade volume surpassed 20 billion U.S. dollars, 30 billion dollars and 40 billion dollars respectively. Trade volume has reached 34.6 billion dollars in the first nine months of this year.

Wen arrived in Singapore on Sunday for a two-day official visit to the country at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

It is the first visit by a Chinese premier to Singapore in eight years.

After the visit, Wen will attend the 11th ASEAN plus Three (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) Summit, the 11th China-ASEAN Summit, the third East Asia summit, and the eighth annual meeting of leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.

Source: Xinhua



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