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ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

UOB inks deal to deepen Singapore and China cooperation

The collaboration will help companies tap into business opportunities through the Suzhou Industrial Park.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Suzhou Industrial Park Administration Committee (SIPAC) in a bid to help companies expand regionally through cross-border trade and investment, an announcement revealed.

Under the agreement, UOB and SIPAC will collaborate to offer companies financial solutions and business advisory as they tap the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for expansion across the region.

Also read: UOB to support Shandong-based firms' Southeast Asian expansion with $600m funding

The partnership also aims to encourage the development of financial technology (fintech) capabilities by supporting the growth of fintech companies and promoting knowledge sharing and talent development across borders.

“UOB’s collaboration with SIPAC is also expected to contribute to the deepening of bilateral cooperation between Singapore and China,” the statement noted. “Earlier this month, the two countries also signed the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Upgrade Protocol to enable greater market access for enhanced bilateral trade and investment.”

Meanwhile, the collaboration between the two firms reflects ongoing efforts to help companies tap into business opportunities through the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), UOB said. Since the bank opened its Suzhou Branch in November 2015, it has seen close a to fivefold increase in the branch’s number of clients of which 20% are located in the SIP.

According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore, China has been Singapore’s largest trading partner whilst Singapore has been China’s largest foreign investor since 2013. Total bilateral trade in 2017 hit $137.1b, with Singapore’s direct investment to China reaching $5.62b (US$4.1b) in the first nine months of 2018, UOB said.

“SIP is the first and an ongoing important government-to-government project between China and Singapore,” SIPAC director and SIP party working committee deputy secretary Ding Li Xin highlighted. “As the two countries continue to deepen their connectivity under the BRI, our MOU with UOB will enable us to enhance the cross-border services within SIP.” 

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