The SUTD Eco-City Research and Innovation Centre

SINGAPORE: Singapore and China forge stronger ties with new digital initiatives as unveiled by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) during the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) in Tianjin. Co-chaired by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Lawrence Wong, and China’s Executive Vice Premier of the State Council, Mr Ding Xuexiang, the meeting resulted in several initiatives aimed at fostering deeper ties between the two economic powerhouses.

Cross-border E-CNY Pilot and ETF Product Link Launch

The highlight of the announcements includes the initiation of a Cross-border E-CNY Pilot between China and Singapore. This pilot, following a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2020, enables travellers from both countries to use e-CNY for tourism spending in Singapore and China, streamlining transactions during overseas travel.

Building on the success of the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) Product Link between Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) in 2022, a new link has been established with the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE). The launch of the CSOP Huatai-Pinebridge SSE Dividend Index ETF and CSOP iEdge Southeast Asia+ TECH Index ETF on Dec 1, 2023, marks the initial products under this link, fostering collaboration opportunities for fund managers and improving investors’ access to ETF products in both markets.

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Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between SGX and Guangzhou Futures Exchange (GFEX), focusing on information exchange, mutual visits, training, and joint research to support green development.

Remittance Linkage and Green Finance Initiatives

Singapore’s local banks and China’s UnionPay International are also exploring a potential remittance linkage between Singapore’s PayNow and UnionPay, aiming to facilitate secure, convenient, and cost-effective cross-border payments and remittances.

In line with the China-Singapore Green Finance Task Force (GFTF), established during last year’s 18th JCBC, MAS and the People’s Bank of China are actively working on key initiatives such as a green corridor for financing products and capacity building.

Mr Leong Sing Chiong, Deputy Managing Director (Markets and Development) at MAS, expressed optimism about these initiatives, stating, ” It has been a fruitful year of financial cooperation between Singapore and China. 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.”

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China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City’s Green Transformation

In a parallel development, Singapore and Tianjin announced groundbreaking initiatives as part of the 15th Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Joint Steering Council. The Eco-City, celebrating its 15th anniversary, will undergo a transformation into a zone symbolising low-carbon economic growth, becoming a blueprint for other Chinese cities, Channel News Asia reports.

A green and digital shipping corridor, the first connecting the two nations, will be established. This corridor will serve as a testbed for digital solutions, alternative fuels, and technologies, promoting decarbonisation and digitalisation in the shipping industry.

The Eco-City’s city centre will witness the construction of a green innovation park, marked by a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang. The development aligns with a new framework aimed at strengthening the Eco-City as a pioneer in climate-friendly cities, fostering bilateral cooperation.

Keppel will also contribute to the Eco-City’s northern district with the development of a carbon-neutral smart precinct. Coupled with the upcoming Z4 Light Rail Line, the green innovation park aims to exemplify high-quality, low-carbon economic growth and serve as a model for cities in China and beyond./TISG