SM Goh says challenge for Tianjin Eco-City is to attract investors

With initial progress underway at the China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City project, Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong says what needs to be done is for policy measures to be either tweaked or put in place.

While saying that Singapore had chosen the right site for the bilateral flagship project, Mr Goh acknowledged that the challenge right now lies in attracting investors.

Mr Goh said his visit to the Tianjin Eco-City site allowed him to visualize what the area would soon look like – a place where residents enjoy a good and leisurely lifestyle, alongside vibrant economic activities such as financial services, research and development, and education.

Mr Goh said he is overwhelmed by the scale of China’s vision, the boldness and the determination of the Chinese in realizing the Tianjin Eco-City dream.

To get the project going, Mr Goh said what is important is to put in place incentives and remove restrictions.

He said, “There are three harmonies we’re talking about, people with people, well we can achieve that. But people with environment, that’s in fact the whole purpose of the eco-city, we can achieve that.

“So the challenge will be people and the economy… we have some ideas on how to attract the activities that we want, financial services, research and development, education, but in the end, can we attract them to come over here, that’s the challenge for us.”

Agreeing, Senior Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu said the eco-city must have more than just a pro-environment living area.

She said, “I think increasingly the challenge is to be economically competitive as well. So I think it’s now time to re-focus on the policy side of it, how to make this place attractive to investors, and to create jobs for the people here.”

Turning the Tianjin Eco-City from dream to reality involves more than just the physical dimensions. It also involves the software of ensuring the city’s long term sustainability and viability, and having endorsement from China’s highest leadership might just be the extra touch that is needed to distinguish the Singapore flagship project from other similar eco-cities in China.

Mr Goh also attended the opening plenary session of the World Economic Forum.

At the session, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao noted that in view of the global financial crisis, China’s greatest contribution to the global economy would be to ensure that it remains economically vibrant.

Turning to the recent milk powder scandal, Mr Wen said that China will revamp the country’s entire food industry so as to ensure greater trust and credibility in Chinese products.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 27 Sep 2008

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