Economic Times, India
China, Singapore agree on free trade accord
5 September 2008
SINGAPORE: China and Singapore concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement, China’s first with another Asian country, news reports said Friday. The agreement, finalised in talks this week between Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan in the northern coastal Chinese city of Tianjin, is likely to be signed at the Asia Europe Meeting Summit in Beijing Oct 24-25.
The accord includes the liberalisation of trade relations, the lowering of tariffs, economic cooperation and food safety, Singapore’s Trade and Industry Ministry said. Bilateral trade was 91.6 billion Singapore dollars ($66.8 billion) last year and included investments of 47 billion Singapore dollars.
China is the third-largest trading partner of the city-state, which has a predominantly Chinese population, while Singapore is China’s eighth. Singapore has 13 free trade agreements with countries including the US, Australia, India and Japan.
The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) last week completed talks on free trade agreements with India, Australia and New Zealand in efforts to increase business ties between the 10-member organisation, which includes Singapore, and its biggest regional economic partners. ASEAN also has a free trade pact with China.