After more than two years of talks, the European Commission has concluded the negotiations for a free trade agreement with Singapore. The deal offers real opportunities for EU exporters in Singapore and sets new standards. It will level the playing field in Singapore and is a stepping stone to greater engagement across South-East Asia.
Singapore is the entry gate for most EU companies wishing to do business in Southeast Asia. The dynamically growing markets of Southeast Asia offer new sources of growth for EU businesses. With €205 billion of trade in goods and services in 2011, the ten-member ASEAN group is already the EU's third largest trading partner outside Europe. An external study (2009) estimated that the EU income gain from an FTA with ASEAN would be €29.5 billion. Singapore being the EU's largest trading partner in that region, accounting for a third (€74 billion) of all trade in goods and services between the EU and ASEAN, this FTA has significant potential for the European economy.
Intellectual Property Rights including Geographical Indications
Singapore will introduce a new register for regionally-specific and recognised foodstuffs, wines and spirits, known as Geographical Indications. This would offer a high level of protection to the EU's most valuable geographical indications on the Singaporean market, such as Bordeaux wine or Parma ham. This is important in a region where there is considerable competition from third country producers, in particular for meat and dairy products.
The free trade agreement has been finalised by the political heads of the negotiating teams, EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht and Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim. Both sides will now seek endorsement from their respective political authorities and envisage initialling the draft agreement in Spring 2013.
On the EU side, the Agreement will be debated by the Council and the European Parliament.
Sunday December 16, 2012/ European Commission/ European Union.