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China-Singapore FTA upgrade likely to be signed this month: Chan Chun Sing

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The upgrade of the free trade agreement between Singapore and China, which is three years in the making, will likely be signed by both sides later this month in Singapore, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

[SHANGHAI] The upgrade of the free trade agreement between Singapore and China, which is three years in the making, will likely be signed by both sides later this month in Singapore, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

"We should be hearing the good news when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Singapore," he said, referring to Mr Li's visit to the Republic for the 33rd Asean Summit in mid November.

"Many more companies and businesses will benefit from this upgrade. And it will cover more areas than before," Mr Chan said in a video interview with Xinhuanet, an affiliate of Xinhua, China's state news agency, which was published on Friday.

The enhanced trade pact will provide Singapore businesses with greater trade facilitation and investment protection in China.

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It will also extend cooperation in legal and financial services, as well as e-commerce and the environment.

The current free trade pact between the two countries came into force in 2009 and was China's first with an Asian country.

Mr Chan noted that the signing of the enhanced trade pact also sends a message.

"In the current international situation, this also brings a positive message to the entire international community, that is, our two countries will work together to maintain and strengthen free trade," he said.

Mr Chan envisaged that the improved FTA will further boost investments between China and Singapore.

"With more investment, it will bring more employment opportunities and improve people's living standards and wages. On the other hand, in simplifying customs procedures, the (imported) goods will be cheaper and will benefit more people," he added.

THE STRAITS TIMES