China's recovery solid, on good growth path: Goh Chok Tong

10:51, April 10, 2010      

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Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said Friday that he expects China, and similarly for most part of Asia recovering from the economic downturn, to maintain good growth this year.

"The economic recovery has started. That's a good news for Asia," Goh, also former Prime Minister of Singapore, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Boao, a coastal resort in south China's Hainan Province.

Goh is here for the annual meeting of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), a pan-Asian platform of dialogue for key issues affecting Asia and the world, which will officially open Saturday. He was elected a member of the BFA's board of directors Thursday.

"The worst is behind us," he said, adding that China's recovery has a solid foundation and is on a good growth path.

"We've paid attention to economic fundamentals. If the economic fundamentals are right, we can let the storm pass by," Goh said. "That's what Singapore and China did."

He said some damages in the global financial crisis were not very severe, "so once the storm passes, we grow again."

Singapore also saw a very good growth in the first quarter of this year and "the growth exceeded out expectation," he said.

Goh emphasized the importance of free trade. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Singapore and China took effect this year.

"The free trade is important for all countries and global economic recovery," he said.

Goh said the most important lesson drawn from the international financial crisis is that the government must have "good surveillance system over the financial industry" so as to make sure that banks do not take up too much risky investment, and to prevent investment from turning to bubbles in property and other sectors.

He also said efforts should be made to ensure that China develops without causing too many problems in terms of climate change.

Singapore has been cooperating with China to develop the Tianjin eco-city in north China for more than one year, which already attracted investors from Japan and Singapore.

"As China urbanizes, Singapore's experience of building a green city can be used in China for its urban solutions as the country grows," he said, adding the eco-city is a model meant to demonstrate that "economic growth can be consistent with green development."

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-Singapore diplomatic ties.

"We've learned from each other. It's not one-way learning any more. We've learned from China as much as China has learned from Singapore," Goh said.

Source: Xinhua

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