Singapore`s sweeping Free Trade Agreement (FTA), coupled with a transparent legal system and a trained workforce, was awarded to accelerate the country`s transformation into a first-world economy. In 1996, this position was confirmed by the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Forum. Singapore has respected the principle that all bilateral and regional trade agreements it has negotiated must be consistent with its WTO obligations. Bilateral trade and investment negotiations with Singapore began in 2010 and ended in 2017. The agreements with Singapore are the first to be concluded between the EU and a South-East Asian country and are stepping stones for increased engagement between the EU and the region. Since the establishment of the CSFTA, China has become Singapore`s largest trading partner, with a total trade value of more than $135 billion in 2019. In October 2019, both countries announced an upgrade to the CSFTA, which included changes to the investment chapter of the original agreement. Free Trade Agreements and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Some of our agreements are called free trade agreements, such as the one with the United States. Others are referred to as comprehensive economic partnership or cooperation agreements, such as the one with India. There are two types of free trade agreements: bilateral (agreement between Singapore and a single trading partner) and regional (signed between Singapore and a group of trading partners). Free trade agreements (FTA) have been in the news lately. For example, India has decided not to sign the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). RCEP had been negotiated by sixteen countries for seven years.
It would have created the largest free trade area in the world. Singapore has been productive in negotiating free trade agreements. To date, Singapore has concluded 13 bilateral free trade agreements and 12 regional free trade agreements. The last two agreements concluded are the RCEP and the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan). First, Singapore makes a living from trade and, for this reason, attaches the utmost importance to the WTO. RCEP establishes a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership, based on ASEAN`s existing bilateral agreements, with its five free trade agreements (FTAs). With about 30% of the world`s gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly a third of the world`s population, RCEP is the world`s largest free trade agreement to date. As an important regional agreement, RCEP will complement Singapore`s existing network of free trade agreements, expand our economic space and boost trade and investment flows.
Bilateral and regional free trade agreements The WTO has 164 member states. The WTO works by consensus. These two facts explain why it takes a long time for the WTO to reach agreements. For this reason, some WTO members have expressed the view that it is necessary for like-minded countries to conclude bilateral and regional trade agreements, complement the WTO and not replace it. The country`s 13 bilateral free trade agreements and 11 regional free trade agreements include some of the largest combined trade agreements in the ASEAN-China, ASEAN-India and ASEAN-Hong Kong trading blocs and allow Singapore-based companies access to preferential markets, free or reduced import tariffs and improved intellectual property rules. At home, some Singaporeans have attacked the Singapore-India Free Trade Agreement, which in 2005 was called the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (COPI). . . .