The European Parliament today backed a wide-ranging free trade agreement with Singapore and an agreement on investment protection, as well as a series of other reports on EU - Singapore relations. Singapore is a gateway for EU businesses to the Southeast Asia region. The ASEAN region as a whole is a $3 trillion economy and a market of over 650 million consumers. The EU - Singapore agreement will eliminate virtually all tariffs on all qualifying goods over a five-year transition period from the date of entry into force. It will address non-tariff barriers to trade such as double testing for car and car parts. The investment protection agreement will replace the existing 13 bilateral investment agreements between Singapore and EU member states.
S&D Group MEP and Parliament negotiator for the EU-Singapore trade deal David Martin said:
“In a time when Trump pursues an ‘America First’ trade policy, the EU continues to show support for a free and fair trade. The free trade agreement will not only enhance the EU’s access to the Singapore market, but even more to the growing ASEAN region, while ensuring strong protections for workers and the environment. I particularly welcome the commitment by the Singapore government to ratify the three outstanding International Labour Organisation core conventions, which was obtained thanks to the continued pressure by our Group.
“Whether you like investment protection agreements or not, there is no doubt that this agreement is a significant improvement over the provisions in member states' current bilateral agreements with Singapore. The agreement will replace the bilateral agreement between Singapore and 13 member states that are based on outdated and unbalanced provisions and include the toxic ISDS. This is indeed a significant step forward. However, rights should come with obligations and I strongly encourage the Commission to include investors’ obligations in future investment protection agreements.
S&D spokesperson for trade Alessia Mosca added:
“This progressive agreement will help to create jobs in Europe. It will make it easier for EU companies to sell products into the South-East Asian market. We have ensured that Singapore will recognise European geographical indications, so French wines and Italian cheeses will enjoy levels of protection equal to those they do in the EU. We have also fought to include a trade and sustainable development chapter in the agreement, which legally obliges both partners to protect environmental and labour standards. We will now push Singapore to ratify the remaining core conventions of the International Labour Organisation.”