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Xi's visit seen as historic

from:China Daily2015-11-07 15:26

President Xi Jinping's visit to Singapore from Nov 6 to 7 is a landmark of historic significance in the relations between China and Singapore.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Singapore's founding and the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

It is the first visit to Singapore for China's head since 2010, enabling leaders of the two countries for the first time to visit each other within one year, and it is also the first State visit received by Singapore's new cabinet, which was founded in late September.

Xi's visit aims to enhance political trust, advance pragmatic cooperation, expand cultural exchanges and build up a comprehensive partnership between the countries.

China and Singapore have made marked progress in economic and trade cooperation. Especially since 2009, bilateral trade in goods has seen an average annual 10.7 percent growth.

Direct investments from China to Singapore in non-financial sectors have increased by 13.1 percent on average annually while China has drawn direct Singaporean investments at an average annual rise of 10.1 percent during the same period.

Currently, China is Singapore's top trading partner, while the latter is China's largest investment source as a single country and one of the busiest offshore renminbi settlement centers.

Despite the sluggish global economy, China-Singapore trade maintained growth momentum in the first three quarters of this year, with bilateral deals reported at more than $59.48 billion, an increase of 4.03 percent year-on-year.

Capital from Singapore accounted for 82 percent of all investments from countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative from January through September, while Chinese investments flowing to Singapore increased by four times during the same period, enabling the country to become China's second-largest investment destination overseas.

More than 5,000 Chinese-funded companies are operating in Singapore and a growing number of Chinese entrepreneurs are eyeing it as a springboard to exploring advanced economies or expanding their influence in Southeast Asian countries.

As China is furthering its "new normal" growth, restructuring the economy, and advancing the Belt and Road Initiative and international industrial cooperation, all these provide rare opportunities for Singapore's economic growth.

Prospects for bilateral collaboration in finance, logistics, service trade, infrastructure construction and international industrial capacities have improved, as there is enormous room for growth in such sectors.

The two countries are both campaigning for regional economic integration and trade liberalization. As Singapore took the rotating seat as coordinator for China-ASEAN relations in August, it shares a wider range of common issues facing China, such as promoting China-ASEAN economic cooperation, calling for talks on a comprehensive regional economic partnership, and realizing economic integration in East Asia or even the Pacific Asia region, and the two countries have greater prospects for future cooperation.

During Xi's visit, the two countries will sign a series of agreements for cooperation, showcasing their latest achievements in such sectors as government-to-government collaboration, trade and investment, finance and logistics.

They will also announce a government-to-government cooperation project in the west of China, the third of its kind after the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin Eco-city.

China and Singapore will express their intention to upgrade their free trade accord, adjust themselves to changes in bilateral, regional and global trade and economic context, and increase trade liberalization and facilitation, thus promoting new developments in business cooperation between the two countries.

I believe such moves will promote further cooperation in the countries' development strategies, deepen the combination of their interests, and thus lay a solid foundation for building an upgraded version of China-Singapore economic cooperation.

Looking ahead, we are confident in the prospects for the bilateral economic cooperation. Riding high on the visit, the people of the two countries, I believe, can grasp the historic development opportunities to boost the China-Singapore economic partnership to a new height and contribute greater contribution to the sustained and comprehensive bilateral relations.

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