SINGAPORE (May 30): Singapore and China will be launching the Fast Lane arrangement in early June this year, to facilitate essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries.

The arrangement was made and agreed on Thursday (May 28), during the 2nd China-Singapore Joint Meeting on COVID-19 held via video conference, co-chaired by Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and China’s Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui.

The Fast Lane arrangement will first be applied between Singapore and the six Chinese provinces or municipalities directly under the central government. The cities are Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang.

The arrangement will be gradually expanded to the other Chinese provinces and municipalities.  Both sides agreed to explore the increase of air links between the two countries for the Fast Lane.

In the same meeting, both countries agreed to increase the efficiency of freight linkages and customs clearance, including facilitating the flow of goods such as essential medical supplies and food.

Singapore welcomed China to join the Joint Ministerial Statement Affirming Commitment to Ensuring Supply Chain Connectivity amidst the COVID-19 Situation. The statement was issued by the ministers from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Lao PDR, Myanmar, New Zealand, and Singapore.

See also: Singapore to keep goods and supply chains open with Australia, Canada, NZ, and South Korea; to 'keep markets open' and continue 'trade across borders' with Japan

On the Belt and Road Initiative, both countries agreed to maintain progress in the government-to-government projects including maximising the role of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative-New International Land Sea Trade Corridor (CCI-ILSTC).

The CCI-ILSTC will help further strengthen trade connectivity between Western China and Southeast Asia, as well as enhance financial connectivity and strengthen third-party market cooperation. 

On the Covid-19 global pandemic, both countries agreed to continue providing facilitation and support to the nationals residing in each other’s country on their medical treatment and stay. 

Both sides also agreed on the importance of enhancing regional cooperation on COVID-19 prevention and control, and expressed support for the early convening of the Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to implement the outcomes of the earlier Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19.

Singapore’s economy will reopen in three phases once its circuit breaker measures ends on June 1.