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Singapore | Singapore, 8 March 2017

EU and Singapore affirm commitment to putting free trade deal in place

EU Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang reiterated their commitment to a swift entry into force of the free trade agreement between the EU and Singapore.

Commissioner Malmström, who is on a two-day visit to Singapore, said, “In a time of rising protectionism in many quarters of the world, we look forward to the entry into force of the EU-Singapore trade agreement. It will open doors and create opportunities for companies big and small, help to boost economic growth and investment, and create jobs. Our trade agreement is a key element in the EU’s pursuit to further strengthen our trade relations with Southeast Asia. Together with our agreement concluded with Vietnam and those under negotiation with other Southeast Asian countries, we are building new bridges to our most important trade partners.

The EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) is the first deal between the EU and a Southeast Asian country. It is a landmark deal that paves the way for greater engagement between the EU and the whole of the Southeast Asia region.

The EU and Singapore share a strong commitment to free and fair trade. We have many common interests, and among other things we had the chance today to discuss ongoing international efforts to reform investment rules," said Commissioner Malmström.

Minister Lim said, “Singapore and the EU are longstanding partners who share a firm belief in free and open trade on a rules-based global trading system. The EUSFTA will reinforce our efforts to remain open and connected, and strengthen our robust economic relations with the EU. The early ratification of the EUSFTA will demonstrate the EU’s resolve as a key player in the global trading system and send a clear signal about the EU’s commitment to step up its engagement of the region. It will also allow both Singapore and EU companies to tap on numerous growth and collaboration opportunities in Asia and Europe.

The Agreement will provide greater access to each other’s markets, including for services providers, investors and companies interested in public procurement. Customs duties, as well as technical and other regulatory barriers to trade will be removed on both sides. As a result, trade conditions for goods such as pharmaceuticals, electronics, chemicals and food products will improve significantly. In addition, the Agreement is designed to stimulate green growth.

Background

The Agreement was concluded in October 2014. Subsequently, the ratification of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement was put on hold pending legal advice from the European Court of Justice on the European Commission’s and EU Member States’ areas of competence in the Agreement. The ratification of the Agreement will proceed following the court’s opinion which is expected in the first half of this year. In the meantime, the European Commission and Singapore are discussing ways to facilitate the approval process ofthe Agreement.

Singapore and the EU enjoy longstanding and robust relations. In 2016, the EU was Singapore’s second largest trading partner, accounting for 11% of global trade. Conversely, Singapore remains the EU’s largest trading partner in ASEAN region. Negotiations on the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement were launched in 2009 and concluded in 2014.

During her visit to Singapore, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström also speaks to students and faculty at the Singapore Management University (SMU) on strengthening ties between the EU and Singapore - read the speech. She is also visiting the port of Singapore, the world’s busiest transit port, to discuss EU-Singapore trade. See pictures and videos* from the visit.


Read the Commissioner's blog



* Videos