Singapore | Brussels, 16 December 2012
EU and Singapore agree on landmark trade deal
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, today completed final negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Singapore. The agreement reached today is one of the most comprehensive the EU has ever negotiated and will create new opportunities for companies from Europe and Singapore to do business together. The growing Singaporean market offers export potential for EU, industrial, agricultural and services businesses. An EU-Singapore FTA will be the EU’s second ambitious agreement with a key Asian trading partner, after the EU-Korea FTA, which is in operation since July 2011.
"Singapore is a dynamic market for EU companies and is a vital hub for doing business across Southeast Asia. This agreement is key to unlocking the gateway to the region and can be a catalyst for growth for EU exporters", said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "After our agreement with South Korea, sealing this deal with Singapore clearly puts the EU on the map in Asia. But we do not intend to stop here – I hope it will open the doors for FTAs with other countries in the ASEAN region."
It will create new opportunities in many services sectors. For example, in banking, insurance and other financial services industries as well as in public tendering. It will also cut down on the red-tape and double-testing that makes life difficult for business. The deal will facilitate the access of industrial and agricultural products on an important export market, through greater recognition of EU standards. For example, Singapore will accept to import European manufactured cars based on EU technical and safety standards and approvals.
In addition, this agreement is a first when it comes to promoting 'green growth' and has been especially designed to meet the EU's "2020 strategy" for a competitive economy. The deal will simplify rules to boost trade and investment in environmental technologies and promote green public tendering.
Both the EU and Singapore will now seek approval for the deal from their respective political authorities and envisage initialling the draft agreement in spring 2013. Talks between the two sides on investment will continue. These discussions, which started later than the trade negotiations, are based on the new EU competence under the Lisbon Treaty.
Negotiations between the EU and Singapore on a free trade agreement started in March 2010.
The FTA with Singapore will be the EU's first agreement with a member of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). FTA negotiations with Malaysia and Vietnam are already under way, whereas preparatory talks continue with other ASEAN nations. The EU considers the FTAs with individual ASEAN countries as stepping stones towards a region-to-region agreement, which remains the long-term objective.
Singapore is the EU's 13th largest trading partner (trade in goods) and the EU's largest trading partner in the Association of South-East Nations (ASEAN).EU-Singapore trade in goods and services each grew by some 40% between 2009 and 2011.
The EU has a positive balance of trade in goods and in services with Singapore.
Singapore is a major destination for European investments in Asia. Singapore is also Asia's second largest investor in the EU (after Japan). In 2010, the existing stock of bilateral investment between the EU and Singapore reached €190 billion, having expanded rapidly over the past years.