January 26, China and New Zealand signed the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Upgrade Protocol (hereinafter referred to as the Upgrade Protocol).
This is the third bilateral free trade arrangement between China and other countries to complete the upgrade after Singapore and Chile.
The analysis believes that the escalation of the China-singapore free trade agreement will promote the economic and trade relations between China and Singapore to a new level, further consolidate the foundation of China-singapore comprehensive strategic partnership, and also provide a constructive model for countries to cooperate to meet the challenges of the epidemic, support multilateralism and free trade, and promote the recovery of global economic stability.
Bilateral cooperation has reached a new level.
“The upgraded version of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement mainly contains three new contents.” Wang Xiaopeng
a researcher at the Haijiang Think Tank of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and director of the Haijiang Silk Road Working Committee of the Chinese Market Society, told this newspaper that the first is to upgrade the original agreement, covering five fields, such as rules of origin, customs procedures and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, trade in services, and cooperation; second, new provisions, It involves four fields such as e-commerce, government procurement, competition policy, environment and trade.
Third, through four exchanges of letters, consensus has been reached in China’s new investment, new employment arrangements for characteristic jobs, cosmetics trade, and tariff reductions on wood and paper products.
The Upgrade Protocol has further improved the quality and efficiency of China-Singapore free trade relations on the basis of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).
According to the relevant person in charge of the Ministry of Commerce of China, in terms of market access in the goods field, China’s market for some new timber and paper products has been opened up, and zero tariffs have been imposed on some wood and paper products imported from the new party.
In the field of service trade, on the basis of RCEP, China has further expanded the opening up of aviation, education, finance, pension, passenger transport and other fields to the new party.
In the work permit arrangement for characteristic types of work, the new party doubled the quota for Chinese teachers and Chinese tour guides with large number of applications from Chinese citizens to new employment on the original basis.
In the field of investment, the new party relaxed the threshold for Chinese investment review, confirming that Chinese investment is given the same review threshold treatment as the members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP).
The analysis believes that the Upgrade Protocol declares to the world with practical actions that China will focus on upgrading the level of free trade agreements, actively explore free trade rules that are not only in line with international common rules but also meet its own reform and development needs, and expand opening up to the outside world at a higher level.
Dual background promotes new upgrades
“The signing of the Upgrade Protocol is based on a dual context.” Wang Xiaopeng said that first, the COVID-19 epidemic is raging, and the world is facing all-round economic, environmental, social and technological challenges.
It is urgent for all countries to strengthen anti-epidemic cooperation and promote economic recovery. Second, in the past few years, individual major countries have taken wrong measures such as unilateralism and trade protectionism, which have caused great damage to the global trade pattern.
In a statement issued on the same day, New Zealand’s Minister of Trade and Export Growth O’Connor said that “this upgraded free trade agreement was reached in the face of great disruption to the global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
He said that the upgraded free trade agreement is part of the New Zealand government’s trade recovery strategy to cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.
According to Reuters, the upgrading of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement will give New Zealand goods more opportunities to enter the supermarkets of the world’s second largest economy and reduce compliance costs for New Zealand exports.
China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is the first bilateral comprehensive free trade agreement signed by China covering trade in goods, trade in services, investment and other fields.
It is also the first free trade agreement signed by China and developed countries.
In the 12 years since the implementation of the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, it has brought real great benefits to the two countries and peoples.
According to the head of the Department of International Economic and Trade Relations of the Ministry of Commerce of China, since the signing of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement came into force, the total bilateral imports and exports have increased from $4.4 billion in 2008 to 18.1 billion US dollars in 2020.
China has become New Zealand’s largest trading partner and second largest source of foreign investment for many consecutive years.
“From the perspective of the structure of trade commodities, China-Singapore trade has a strong complementarity.” Wang Xiaopeng said that New Zealand’s animal products, agricultural and sideline products, wood and wood products have always been very popular in China.
China is one of the main importers of New Zealand’s electromechanical products, transportation equipment, textiles and other products, and New Zealand is also one of the main destination countries for Chinese students and tourism.
The Upgrade Protocol will meet the needs of the times, better integrate the resource advantages of the two countries, and promote the healthy and sustainable development of bilateral trade.
Two-way efforts to promote new opening up
On January 26, Zhao Lijian, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the escalation of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement reflects the firm determination of China and Singapore to support multilateralism and free trade with practical actions.
China is willing to work with New Zealand and other countries to always support economic globalization, promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, focus on promoting institutional opening up of rules, regulations, management, standards, etc., and continue to create a market-oriented, rule-of-law and international business environment, so as to provide more impetus for the world economic recovery and jointly build Unrile the world economy.
Al Jazeera reported on January 26 that China has become an advocate of globalization and multilateralism.
In recent months, China has not only completed the negotiation of the China-EU investment agreement and signed the RCEP, but also expressed interest in joining the CPTPP.
“China and New Zealand are located in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, and their political systems and cultural backgrounds are very different.
The signing of the Upgrade Protocol sets an example for global economic and trade cooperation.” Wang Xiaopeng said.
China and New Zealand have many common languages in building an open world economy.
The analysis points out that under the current background of rampant unilateralism and protectionism, the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement has escalated, together with the previous RCEP signing, the completion of negotiations on the China-EU investment agreement, and China’s announcement that it is actively considering joining the CPTP, it has issued the strong voice of the times when China’s expansion of opening up to the outside world and driving the world economic recovery. Play a good demonstration role.