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Europe and Singapore Opens Door For Export Opportunities With New FTA

Singapore’s export industry received a major boost last month as the city-state and the European Union finalized their negotiations for the first EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA).

The new EUSFTA will grant both countries more access to each other’s import and export markets. Singapore is seen to greatly benefit from the FTA over the course of five years once tariffs have been lifted on Singapore imports to the European Union following the ratification of the agreement.

The FTA encompasses free trade between Singapore and all 27 member nations of the European Union. Among these nations include economic bigwigs such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France and emergent economies like Hungary and Ukraine. The UK is one of the biggest trading partners in the EU, which has received over SG $8.237 worth of exports from the city state last year.

The Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) stated that the pharmaceutical, electronics, chemicals, and processed food product manufacturing industries will greatly benefit from the FTA’s ratification.

The EUSFTA is the first ever bilateral FTA inked by the European Union with a South East Asian economy. Singapore also has bilateral FTAs with Australia and Asian economies such as China, Japan, India and South Korea.

Singapore bilateral free trade agreements have led the country to be named as the “Country Most Open to International Trade,” according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Singapore has also topped a recently released Ernst & Young report for having the most bilateral free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific. Singapore currently has 18 official bilateral free trade agreements.

Singapore is hailed by the World Bank as the “World’s Easiest Place to Do Business” and has retained the top spot for the said category for seven consecutive years. Singapore has one of the lowest headline corporate tax rates in Asia, averaging at 17%. The process of incorporating a company in Singapore also only takes a day.