The EU and Singapore Move Ahead

The EU-Singapore deal is the first with a country from south-east Asia (Photo: European Commission)
The EU-Singapore deal is the first with a country from south-east Asia (Photo: European Commission)

2013-09-21 Singapore is a key country in South East Asia, economically, and strategically.

We have written about the growing role for European defense industry in working with Asian countries, and Singapore is clearly one of those countries.

Notably, in the maritime area, Singapore has purchased the Formidable Class frigates from France and according to French Navy sources; the improvements made by Singapore with regard to those ships have made them even better than those deployed with the French navy.

Now the EU has announced that the economic bloc is expanding its relationship with Singapore. 

The two sides are shaping a significant trade pact, which would further open the possibilities of trade and economic development.

EU trade officials moved a step closer to sealing an trade pact with Singapore after negotiators for both sides presented the entire text of the agreement on Friday (20 September). 

“This is also the first step towards closer economic ties between the two major integrated regions in the world, ASEAN and the EU, and their 1.1 billion citizens,” the lead negotiators, Rupert Schlegelmilch and Keith Tan, said in a statement, after signing each page of the document which runs over 1,000 pages. The main negotiations concluded in December 2012. 

The agreement is the first free trade deal between the EU and a south-east Asian country in the ASEAN region. However, the commission has also started talks with Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, as it seeks to reach trade pacts with the ASEAN bloc. 

Despite being one of the smaller countries in the region, Singapore makes up about a third of all EU-ASEAN trade and more than 60 percent of all investment between the two regions. Trade in goods between the two topped €52 billion in 2012 and in services €28 billion in 2011. 

The commission estimates that the deal would boost EU exports to Singapore by around €1.4 billion euros over a decade, while Singapore could see its exports to the bloc increase by around €3.5 billion….. 

The draft agreement with Singapore goes far beyond the scrapping of traditional tariff barriers. Public procurement will be opened up, with agreements having also been reached on technical standards in a number of sectors such as motor vehicles, electronics and green technologies.