Upgraded Singapore-China free trade agreement among 24 signed at annual top-level meeting

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TIANJIN, China: Singapore and China on Thursday (Dec 7) announced the signing of an upgraded free trade agreement that will give Singapore businesses greater access to China's markets.

The deal is one of 24 agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) signed between Singapore and China – up from 19 last year and the most in recent years. They cover areas such as sustainability, education, trade, food security and healthcare.

The agreements were unveiled at the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting held at the Hilton Tianjin Eco-City hotel, co-chaired by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang.

The JCBC is the highest-level annual forum between China and Singapore. It reviews the substantive collaboration between both nations and charts the direction of cooperation.

In his remarks at the start of the JCBC meeting, Vice Premier Ding said he had a “very good talk” with Mr Wong and the Singapore delegation, which included several ministers, at an earlier bilateral meeting on Thursday.

“Today’s mechanism meetings will focus on three key words in our relations: All-round, high quality, and future-oriented," Vice Premier Ding added, referring to the name of the recently upgraded Singapore-China bilateral partnership.

"We all hope that through this meeting, we can further establish a new landscape for China-Singapore mutually beneficial cooperation in a new era."

Mr Wong, who is on a four-day trip to Beijing and Tianjin, said the Singapore delegation was "very happy" to attend the first JCBC meeting to be hosted in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City marks its 15th anniversary this year. Mr Wong described it as a "visionary project that seeks to develop a model of city development that is environmentally sustainable".

"Fifteen years ago, we all know that this area was a barren wasteland but through our joint efforts working together ... we have transformed this place into a liveable and beauti...

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