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Singapore, China to sign free trade pact in Beijing

Channel NewsAsia, Singapore

Singapore, China to sign free trade pact in Beijing

21 October 2008

SINGAPORE - Singapore and China will sign a free trade agreement (FTA) in Beijing during a visit there this week by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the city-state’s foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Mr Lee will make an official visit to China from October 22-27 in conjunction with his attendance at a summit of Asian and European leaders this weekend, the ministry said in a press statement.

In Beijing, Mr Lee will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior leaders, it said.

Mr Lee will "witness the signing of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement" by Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang and Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming, the statement said.

Negotiations for the China-Singapore FTA began in October 2006.

Singapore has said the bilateral deal builds on an FTA already reached between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to which Singapore belongs.

It said the deal covers trade in goods, rules of origin, trade remedies, trade in services, movement of persons, investment, customs procedures, technical barriers to trade, sanitary measures and economic cooperation.

Singapore’s trade with China rose to a record high of S$91.6b in 2007.

China is Singapore’s third-largest trading partner and Singapore is China’s eighth-largest trading partner.

The foreign ministry statement also said Asian and European leaders were expected to discuss the global financial turmoil and further cooperation in "trade and investment, climate change and sustainable development and energy security" during their summit on Friday and Saturday