SINGAPORE, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- An event for introducing and publicizing the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) Upgrade Protocol was held at the headquarters of Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) on Tuesday.
Jointly launched by the SCCCI and the Economic and Commercial Counsellor's Office of the Embassy of China in Singapore, the event was attended by more than 120 representatives from the business communities of the two countries and government agencies including Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as the International Enterprise Singapore.
The event aimed to help Chinese and Singaporean enterprises have a deeper understanding of the upgrade protocol and make full use of the preferential policies specified in the document, according to Zhong Manying, Economic and Commercial Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of China in Singapore.
The new protocol, which came into force on October 16, upgraded six fields of the original China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, including the rules of origin, customs procedures and trade facilitation, trade relief, trade in services, investment and economic cooperation. Among them, the adjustment to the rules of origin will be implemented starting from January 1, 2020, upon agreement of the two sides.
The protocol also added three new areas of e-commerce, competition policy and environment.
The protocol would create more cooperation opportunities for companies of the two countries and push the China-Singapore bilateral cooperation to a higher level, said Zhong, adding that the entry into force of the protocol is an embodiment of mutually beneficial cooperation and delivers positive energy to the international community for safeguarding the free trade system.
It's noted that there would be three multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements between China and Singapore, if the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement would be signed next year as expected, in addition to the protocol and the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.
The upgrading of the CSFTA marks further opening-up of the Chinese market, and significantly facilitates the investment and business operations of Singaporean enterprises in China, said Roland Ng San Tiong, President of SCCCI.
He hoped that through the event, Singaporean enterprises could deepen their understanding of the CSFTA and better expand their business in China.
Ng, who is also the Managing Director and Group CEO of Tat Hong Holdings Ltd., mentioned that under the CSFTA upgrade protocol, his company was able to invest in some of China's industries that previously were not accessible to Singaporean capital. (Contributed by Li Xiaoyu, edited by Su Dan)