China is Singapore’s top trading partner. In 2014, bilateral trade between China and Singapore amounted to S$121.5 billion8. Given Singapore’s roots as a regional financial and trading hub, she stands to benefit from this Belt and Road initiative by allowing businesses to operate out of Singapore and tap on growth opportunities in the region. The Belt and Road initiative has gained significant traction over the past few months, after the announcement in March 2015 that “Vision and Actions Outlined on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road” by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce. This initiative would benefit Singapore as a whole through various aspects. Infrastructure and Logistics Industry Being well positioned in the heart of South East Asia and the gateway of the Strait of Malacca, Singapore is poised to benefit from this initiative. Singapore, a city-state nation with excellent infrastructure and competence in the logistics industry, would play a significant role in helping neighbouring countries develop their trading and logistics infrastructure. Because of this significant influence that Singapore has, Chinese enterprises have increased their investments into Singapore’s infrastructure.
As countries in the region become more interconnected under this initiative, there will also be a greater increase in the number of people travelling for leisure or business. This initiative would enable greater ease of tourist visa applications between the countries along the Belt and Road. Singapore would stand to gain from the expected increase in the number of tourist arrivals. Singapore can also leverage on its competitive advantages as the leading clean energy hub for the region in attracting foreign businesses to adopt
Singapore as a reference market for the trial of their products and services before expanding to neighbouring countries in the region. As one of the world’s premier financial centres, Singapore has a strong network of financial institutions with excellent governance. The Belt and Road initiative would further increase the opportunities for professional services firms in Singapore to raise and distribute equity and debt capital to facilitate investment around the region. Singapore is also the largest offshore hub for RMB trading outside Hong Kong.