European Parliament: Trade Agreement With Singapore Tightens EU-Asia Cooperation

Jean-Claude Juncker
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attends weekly College of Commissioners meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Februray 6, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Yves Herman)

The European Parliament has approved a trade and investment agreement between the European Union (EU) and Singapore that is expected to further strengthen exchange ties and up the EU's presence in Southeast Asia.

In a press release on the EU's official web portal, it was stated that the trade agreement will see Singapore removing all remaining tariffs on products from EU member states. The Asian country also agreed to provide EU services providers more access to the Singaporean market.

Some of the sectors that will benefit largely from the EU-Singapore trade agreement are engineering, maritime transport, computing services, environmental services, and telecommunications.

In 2017, bilateral investments between Singapore and the EU reached the €344 billion mark. The Asian country also became the eurozone's top trade destination with over 10,000 European firms established to serve the various sects in the Pacific region.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said of the development, "The European Parliament's approval of the EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements marks a historical moment. This is the European Union's first bilateral trade agreement with a Southeast Asian country, a building block towards a closer relationship with Europe and one of the most dynamic regions in the world."

Juncker added that the EU is forging stronger and closer ties with Singapore both in political and economic cooperation. For the Commission chief, the deal is a win-win for both sides.

While the deal was signed in October of last year and the approval came on Tuesday, Singapore has yet to complete all internal procedures before the finalization processes are made. All EU member states are also required to finalize their parts in the agreement before the deal rolls out.

Aside from trade relations, the investment protection agreement also established a set of rules that will safeguard European investments in Singapore. An Investment Court System has also been put in place to help resolve disputes that could arise in the near future.

The new deal will replace 12 existing bilateral investment treaties that Singapore and EU member states established previously.

Meanwhile, ECA International has released its annual evaluation of the top most livable countries around the world. According to Irish outlet The Journal, Singapore was listed as the most livable Asian destination for European expatriates due to higher levels of adaptability and suitability.

Singapore was the only Asian country that made it to the top 10. ECA Senior Analyst, Neil Ashman said among the reasons why some cities in Asia are not a good fit for Europeans are climate and language.

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