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China, Singapore agree trade-pact upgrade, 30-day visa deal
  ·  2023-12-08  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency

China and Singapore announced on December 7 that they have reached a protocol to further upgrade the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA), while also agreeing on a 30-day mutual visa exemption arrangement for ordinary passport holders.

The news came as Ding Xuexiang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and vice premier of the State Council, met in Tianjin with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of the Republic of Singapore Lawrence Wong.

Ding and Wong also co-chaired the 19th meeting of the China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the 24th meeting of China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Joint Steering Council (JSC), the 15th meeting of the China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City JSC and the seventh meeting of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity JSC.

Ding said that this year is of special significance to the development of China-Singapore relations. He called on the two sides to closely focus on the new orientation of China-Singapore relations, make good use of the meeting platform of the bilateral cooperation mechanism, promote the upgrading of existing cooperation, explore more new areas of cooperation, and jointly implement the important consensus of the leaders of the two countries.

Singapore-China relations enjoy a strong momentum of development and the Belt and Road Initiative has yielded fruitful results, Wong said, adding that Singapore is willing to work with China to further strengthen exchanges at all levels, deepen the synergy of development strategies, give full play to the role of bilateral cooperation mechanisms and push for new development in bilateral relations.

The two sides agreed to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, continue to expand and strengthen the building of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, deepen cooperation in third-party markets, upgrade key cooperation projects, actively expand cooperation in digital economy and ocean energy, build a pattern of diversified and interactive cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and jointly uphold the multilateral trading system.

The two sides announced 24 outcomes of cooperation, including a protocol to further upgrade the CSFTA, and 30-day mutual visa exemption arrangement for ordinary passport holders.

Under the protocol, the two countries committed to a negative-list model of services and investment opening-up, which will provide broader space for investors and services providers and expand cooperation in emerging fields such as the digital economy, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

The ministry said the signing of the milestone protocol will stimulate the potential of services trade and investment cooperation further, and the two sides will step up their domestic legal procedures for the protocol's early entry into force.


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