A trigger system has been designed and implemented for the HIRFL-CSR external target experiment (CEE), the spectrometer for studying nuclear matter properties with heavy ion collisions in the GeV energy region. The system adopts master-slave structure and serial data transmission mode using optical fiber to deal with different types of detectors and long-distance signal transmission. The trigger logic can be accessed based on command register and controlled by a remote computer. The overall field programmable gate array (FPGA) logic can be flexibly reconfigured online to match the physical requirements of the experiment. The trigger system has been tested in beam experiment. It is demonstrated that the trigger system functions correctly and meets the physical requirements of CEE.

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