8th Dec 2023

EU seals Singapore trade pact

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

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

Meanwhile, in a sign likely to encourage EU negotiators starting landmark trade talks with the United States and Japan, 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.

The EU commission estimates that eliminating so-called 'behind border tariffs' is worth four times more to economic output than levies on imports.

The deal is “one of the most comprehensive free-trade agreements ever negotiated,” the commission said in a statement.

The commission now needs to secure support for the agreement from EU governments and the European Parliament before it can enter into force. The EU executive expects the deal to take effect in late 2014 or early 2015.

EU to re-open South-Asian trade talks

The EU is prepared to reopen trade negotiations with the Asean trade bloc of South-Asian countries, the bloc’s trade chief said ahead of a summit on Monday.

Trade deal ratification needs member states, EU court says

The EU Court of Justice has ruled that the Singapore trade deal needs member states' ratification in its current form. It said that only investments do not belong under the EU's sole competence, potentially removing Brexit complications.

Spain's Nadia Calviño backed to be EIB's first female chief

With less than a month to go before the start of a new leadership of the European Investment Bank, the world's largest multilateral lender, the path seems finally clear for one of the candidates, Spanish finance minister Nadia Calviño.


Is there hope for the EU and eurozone?

While some strengths may have been overlooked recently, leading to a more pessimistic outlook on the EU and the euro area than the truly deserve, are there reasons for optimism?

Latest News

  1. How Moldova is trying to control tuberculosis
  2. Many problems to solve in Dubai — honesty about them is good
  3. Sudanese fleeing violence find no haven in Egypt or EU
  4. How should EU reform the humanitarian aid system?
  5. EU suggests visa-bans on Israeli settlers, following US example
  6. EU ministers prepare for all-night fiscal debate
  7. Spain's Nadia Calviño backed to be EIB's first female chief
  8. Is there hope for the EU and eurozone?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  3. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  4. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?
  5. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  6. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us