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Singapore-China FTA

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SINGAPORE can expect to conclude its free trade agreement (FTA) with China by next year, Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng said yesterday.

But both countries would have to work very hard to achieve that target, he added.

When completed, the free trade pact will deepen economic ties between the two countries.

Currently, Singapore is China's seventh largest trading partner, while China is Singapore's third largest partner.

Bilateral trade hit US$40.85 billion (S$62 billion) last year.

The two sides agreed that the bilateral FTA should build on the Asean-China FTA that is being negotiated. It would be an 'ACFTA-plus', meaning that it would cover areas not already included in the Asean-China pact.

The Singapore-China pact is also expected to spur the ACFTA process, which began in 2002 and is expected to be completed in 2010, and strengthen Asean-China ties.

Another item high on the JCBC agenda was the eco-city project, mooted by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong in April