The European Commission and Singapore have reached an agreement on a major free trade deal following more than two years of negotiations. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, completed final negotiations on the agreement.
The pact 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.
The European Commission says the dynamically growing markets of Southeast Asia offer new sources of growth for EU businesses. With €205 billion of trade in goods and services in 2011, the 10-member ASEAN group is already the EU’s third largest trading partner outside Europe.
An external study in 2009 estimated that the EU income gain from an FTA with ASEAN would be €29.5 billion. With Singapore being the EU’s largest trading partner in that region, accounting for a third (€74 billion) of all trade in goods and services between the EU and ASEAN, this FTA has significant potential for the European economy.
The deal will create new opportunities in many services sectors, according to the European Commission. It will facilitate the access of industrial and agricultural products on an important export market, through greater recognition of EU standards. For example, Singapore agrees to import European-manufactured cars based on EU technical and safety standards and approvals.
For the first time, Singapore has agreed to tackle technical barriers in key sectors such as cars, electronics and renewable energy equipment. These rules will make it easier for goods produced and tested to European standards to be sold in Singapore, without technical changes or additional testing.
Singapore will also facilitate the recognition of EU meat producers. Such recognition is currently only granted on an establishment-by-establishment basis.