China, Singapore to sign free-trade pact in October news
06 September 2008

Mumbai: China and Singapore have concluded negotiations on a free-trade agreement (FTA) and have set an October date for signing a formal deal, the two governments said after talks concluded in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin.

The final round of talks were held by Chinese vice premier Wang Qishan and Singaporean deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng, trade ministers of the two countries said in separate statements issued on their websites.

The FTA, which covers trade, investment, travel, customs procedures and other related issues, is China's first with a neighbouring Asian country, Singapore's ministry of trade and industry said.

''The FTA will enhance our strong economic relations by further reducing and removing barriers to trade. This will create opportunities for businesses from both countries to grow their links in each others' markets,'' the release said.

The formal agreement will be signed during a visit by Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien Loon to Beijing to attend a summit of Asian and European leaders, the statement added.

China is Singapore's third-biggest trading partner and Singapore is China's eighth-largest trading partner. Trade between the two countries totalled $47.15 billion in 2007, up from $40.86 billion in 2006.

Businesses and individuals from Singapore had invested $33 billion in mainland China by the end of 2007.

Singapore also has FTAs with several other countries, including India, the US, Australia, Japan, Peru, South Korea and New Zealand.

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China, Singapore to sign free-trade pact in October