Singapore's PM urges free trade and economic connectivity ahead of Boao Forum

Updated 2018-04-08 15:46:20

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the recent trade measures by the United States will "inevitably affect its relations with China and other countries," and a trade war does no good to any country. [Special coverage]

Lee made the remarks in a recent interview with Chinese official newspaper People's Daily ahead of his working visit to China. The Singaporean prime minister is expected to arrive in Beijing on Sunday and will also attend the Boao Forum in south China's Hainan Province.

The United States has been longstanding advocate for free trade and multilateral economic system, but lately it has taken a radically change towards free trade – it takes measures to protect domestic industries in bid to narrow its trade deficits with other countries, Lee said.

Lee warned such measures will damage the global multilateral reciprocal trade system and will inevitably damage its ties with China and other trading partners.

There is no winner in a trade war, he added.

The prime minster acknowledged China's commitment to opening-up and promoting regional interconnectivity.

The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China deepens regional connectivity and opening-up, Lee said.

Singapore is one of the countries that support the proposal, and Singapore and China have opened a rail and maritime route that connects China's Chongqing and Guangxi to other countries via the Southeast Asian city state, added Lee.

Singapore's investment to China accounted for about 85 percent of the total investment China received from the Belt and Road participant members, Lee noted.

Singapore is one of the largest offshore renminbi (RMB) trading centers and it provides financial services to Chinese companies in overseas trading and cooperative projects, he added.

A tourist poses for a selfie photograph in front of the Merlion statue at the Marina Bay waterfront in Singapore, Feb. 16, 2018. /VCG Photo

He expressed optimism about leveling up Singapore-China bilateral trade ties.

The two countries are working to upgrade a free trade deal, Lee said, adding that he hopes to strengthen cooperation with China in all aspects.

During his visit, Lee will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing and the two leaders will sign two memorandums of understanding on bilateral cooperation.

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