Making progress on global trade

Singapore has made significant headway recently on the trade front with the signing of three free trade agreements (FTAs) in the last quarter of 2018. BizQ breaks down what you need know about these landmark pacts.

The China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Upgrade

The China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) Upgrade was signed on 12 November 2018 by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and China’s International Trade Representative and Vice Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying. The upgraded CSFTA will provide Singapore businesses with enhanced access to the Chinese market, as well as improved investment protection and simplified customs procedures. China and Singapore will now work towards ratifying the upgraded agreement. For more information on the CSFTA contact Enterprise Singapore at [email protected]

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership

The landmark Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) aims to increase trade among 11 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies, including Singapore. The CPTPP was ratified by Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore on 31 October, and will enter into force for these countries on 30 December 2018. (this may need to be updated before publication)

CPTPP parties will benefit from this trade deal through the substantial elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers for goods, improved access for service suppliers, greater facilitation of investments, and improved access to government procurement contracts.

As a result of the agreement, Singapore companies will have better access to opportunities in CPTPP markets, and producers of goods such as food, textiles and apparel can tap preferential tariffs when exporting to a CPTPP nation. Singapore businesses will also be able to bid for government tenders in countries that were previously closed to foreign bidders, such as Malaysia, Mexico and Vietnam.

“SBF is now reaching out to relevant partners – the Government and business chambers in Singapore – on raising awareness on the benefits of the CPTPP to Singapore companies. It is important to help them understand how these benefits can be unlocked and translated into tangible benefits for their businesses,” said Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of Singapore Business Federation.

EU Singapore FTA

Singapore and the European Union (EU) signed a landmark trade deal on Oct 19 that will eliminate tariffs and give businesses across various sectors better market access. The EU Singapore FTA (EUSFTA) was concluded between is expected to go into force in 1Q 2019 following its ratification.

The agreement was signed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council president Donald Tusk and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Brussels.

“The EUSFTA – a timely and crucial development in support of open and free trade – will provide Singapore companies opportunities with preferential and improved access for products and services to EU’s large market. SBF is committed to support the successful implementation of the EUSFTA and help our companies, especially our SMEs, take advantage of its enormous benefits,” said Mr Teo Siong Seng, Chairman of Singapore Business Federation.

Companies who wish to find out more about SBF’s upcoming FTA-related events can contact the FTAs and International Relations Department at [email protected]