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China, Singapore conclude talks on upgraded FTA

By Zhong Nan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-04-02 07:08
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This photograph taken on June 14, 2021, shows people sitting next to a pond outside the Marina Bay Shoppes shopping center in Singapore. [Photo/Agencies]

China and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Saturday to announce the substantive conclusion of subsequent negotiations on an upgraded bilateral free trade agreement.

The teams of both sides will continue the follow-up works of legal review and translation of the texts, and fulfil their respective domestic procedures to sign the agreement as soon as possible, said China's Ministry of Commerce in an online statement.

The upgraded FTA, which will boost market access for businesses from both countries, adds a new standalone chapter on telecommunications, and incorporates high-level economic and trade rules on national treatment, market access, transparency and the digital economy, among others.

Signed by China's Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao and Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, the two sides confirmed that there will be no rollback of opening-up measures in the service trade and investment sectors, and promised to each other that the respective doors will only open wider.

The FTA is an important measure and practical action by China to align with high-standard international economic and trade rules and open wider to the outside world. It will strongly push China-Singapore economic and trade cooperation to a new level, according to the commerce ministry.

China and Singapore signed the FTA in 2008 and upgraded it in 2018. In December 2020, the two sides upgraded the agreement again and launched subsequent negotiations to further liberalize service trade and investment based on a negative-list model.

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