Singapore Agreement Boosts EU-Asia Trade

European Union
European Union Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier speaks during a plenary session of the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium January 30, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

Singapore and the European Union's trade and investment agreements received approval from the European Parliament and it served as an important step towards their entry into the force which is expected to boost the European Union and Singapore's economic relations and cooperation which will lead to Europe's increased presence in the fast-emerging Southeast Asian Region.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said that the European Parliament's approval of the European Union-Singapore trade and investment agreements marks a historical moment since it is the European Union's first bilateral trade agreement with a Southeast Asian country. He added that it serves as a building block towards a closer relationship between Europe and one of the most dynamic regions in the world. Jucker said that the Europe Union forges closer economic and political ties with friends and partners who believe in open, reciprocal, and rules-based trade. He also said that it is another win-win trade agreement negotiated by the European Union which will create new opportunities for European producers, workers, farmers, and consumers, while at the same time promoting cooperation and multilateralism.

Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for trade, said that the European Union needs the agreement more than ever since these agreements will help both the European Union and Singapore to proper. He noted that boosting the two parties' trade and strengthening an already essential relationship. She said that it will benefit workers and farmers, as well as small and big companies on both sides. She noted that the agreements include a strong commitment to human and labor rights and to protecting the environment and it signals an open, fair, and rules-based global trade.

Singapore is the European Union's largest trading partner in Southeast Asia with a total trade of goods amounting to not less than €53 billion and €51 billion-worth of trade in services. Singapore homes more than 10,000 European companies and it is mainly used as a hub to serve the whole Pacific region.

The agreement said that the Asian nation will remove all remaining tariffs on European Union members' products and it needs to commit to keeping needs to keep its current duty free market for all European Union Products. European service providers also get the new opportunity in varying sectors including telecommunications, environmental services, engineering, computing, and maritime transport. With the agreement, the business environment shared by the two sides is more predictable. The Asian nation also assured that they will remove obstacles to trade aside from the tariffs.

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