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ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Singapore-EU to push ratification of free trade deal this year

When passed, it will allow consumers and producers reach each other’s markets sans custom duties on all qualifying goods.

Singapore and European Union (EU) have committed to facilitate the ratification of their trade and investment deal by the end of 2018 and push its entry into force soon thereafter.

In a joint press release by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and European Commission, they said the EU-Singapore Free Trade agreement (EUSFTA) is expected to be sent to the Council this April and to the European Parliament for their approvals.

The negotiations on EUSFTA were concluded in October 2014. When ratified, it will be the first trade deal implemented by EU and an ASEAN member state.

“I very much welcome that we will soon take the next steps towards the conclusion of our trade and investment agreement. Together with the EU-Singapore Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, this trade and investment agreement will confirm our strong engagement with Singapore and will open up a new dimension in our ties with Singapore and ASEAN,” said Cecilia Malmström, commissioner for trade of EU, in a press release.

“We welcome the good news that the agreement is moving forward. This is an important step towards closer relations with the EU, which is our third largest trading partner and largest investor in Singapore. It also reinforces EU’s economic engagement in the ASEAN region. Together with Commissioner Malmström, we will work to ensure that both Singapore and EU companies can reap the benefits of the agreement as soon as possible,” added Lim Hng Kiang, minister for Trade and Industry.

The EUSFTA is expected to producers and consumers with greater access to both EU and Singapore markets through elimination of custom duties on all qualifying goods. It will also open up new opportunities for services providers, investors, and companies to reach each other’s markets.

According to MTI, the EU remains as Singapore’s biggest investor and third largest trading partner. In fact, the bilateral trade between EU and Singapore in 2017 expanded by 5.6% year-on-year to $98.4b, which made up slightly more than 10% of the latter’s total trade.

Furthermore, EU and Singapore both concurred to implement provisions on trade and sustainable development, competition, and intellectual property.
  

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