Singapore believes that services, including financing and legal services, are strengths it can offer China as opening-up accelerates.
For example, large-scale infrastructure construction projects require a legally guaranteed environment, and Singapore can leverage its advantages and experience to assist China in overseas investments requiring huge capital and material resources, said Chan Chun Sing, Singapore's minister for trade and industry, on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. Singapore has been China's biggest source of foreign investment for five consecutive years.
"Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, one-third of China's investment abroad has gone through Singapore to reach other countries for projects," Chan said on Tuesday.
China's Ministry of Commerce announced on Monday that the two countries had concluded negotiations to upgrade the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in 2009.
In an article on the ministry's website, Chan said that the upgrade demonstrated the two countries' shared commitment to broader economic collaboration and trade liberalization.
Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the proportion of services in the upgraded China-Singapore FTA will be increased.
Singapore's Chan said he hoped enterprises in the two countries can collaborate more in other countries. He added that Singapore Power and China's State Grid Corp have begun a cooperative project in new energy in Australia.
"Such collaboration－giving full play to the two countries' respective strengths－is also a response to the Belt and Road Initiative," said Teo Siong Seng, chairman of the Singapore Business Federation.
"Singapore has certain practical business experience in Southeast Asian and South Asian countries. The joint development of Singaporean and Chinese businesses will be a win-win situation, using China's capital and technology and Singapore's local experience and relationships," said Teo, who is also executive chairman and managing director of Pacific International Lines and chairman of Singamas Container Holdings, Hong Kong.
Chan said the ministry will help bring more investment to China from Singapore, not only to the developed coastal cities, such as Shanghai and Guangzhou, but also in other smaller cities in other parts of the country with market openness and potential.
Zhong Nan contributed to this story.