Singapore and the United Kingdom (UK) signed the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on Thursday, December 10, under which Singapore and UK companies will enjoy the same benefits that they are receiving under the EU-Singapore FTA (EUSFTA).
These include tariff elimination for goods trade, increased access to their respective services and government procurement markets, as well as reduction of non-tariff barriers.
The FTA was signed between Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss in Singapore. They also agreed to start scoping the modules of a UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), with a view to launching negotiations on the DEA in 2021.
“The signing of the UK-Singapore FTA strengthens and deepens the relationship between Singapore and the UK. The UK has also indicated clear interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which Singapore supports and welcomes," said Chan.
The FTA will also support the regional operations and supply chains of companies in the UK and Singapore by allowing for both EU-27 and ASEAN cumulation. In line with the current arrangement under the EUSFTA, UK and Singapore companies can continue to use materials and parts sourced from the EU-27 in their exports to each other’s markets. The EUSFTA provision on ASEAN cumulation would also remain.
Once the relevant arrangements are put in place, Singapore exports using ASEAN materials and parts can qualify for preferential tariff treatment when entering the UK.
As the first FTA between the UK and an ASEAN Member State, the UK-Singapore FTA will also serve as a pathfinder for the UK’s engagement of the ASEAN region, Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a press statement.
Meanwhile, the UK-Singapore DEA will facilitate more seamless digital trade and business between the UK and Singapore by promoting cross-border digital connectivity and interoperability of digital standards and systems.