SINGAPORE, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Southeast Asia will be an increasingly important part of China's "international circulation," Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Tuesday while addressing a virtual forum.
He made the remarks while referring to China's new economic development pattern of "dual circulation" of "domestic circulation" and "international circulation."
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has become China's top trading partner for the first time this year, he told the FutureChina Global Forum Special Virtual Edition.
With the restructuring of global supply chains in post-COVID-19 era, Southeast Asia can be an attractive choice for companies considering a "China Plus One" strategy. Besides manufacturing, the digital economy and infrastructure development also offer ample opportunities in Southeast Asia, said Heng who also serves as Singapore's Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance.
ASEAN and China are jointly committed to mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on trade and investment, he said.
Singapore is pressing ahead with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, an inter-governmental project between China and Singapore, with a 20-percent increase in trade volume in the first half of the year through this corridor despite COVID-19, according to Heng.
"In a post-COVID world, we are likely to see a bigger premium on resilience in supply chains, greater emphasis on digitalization and innovation, and new areas of growth emerging."
All countries and businesses, big and small, will have to make adjustments, he pointed out.
Heng put forward three suggestions. First, countries must remain open and connected to the world, and make adjustments so that globalization works for all. Second, Singapore must strengthen connectivity with the region. Third, in an era of tremendous change, businesses must foster partnerships to emerge stronger from this crisis.
The annual forum gathers government and business leaders as well as leading thinkers on a wide range of China-related issues. It runs from Tuesday to Thursday virtually this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Enditem