European Parliament says yes to the EU-Singapore agreement

Vivian Balakrishnan (left), Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs and Federica Mogherini (right), High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the signing ceremony of the EUSFTA, ESPCA and EUSIPA agreements in Brussels last October. (Photo: MCI)

The European Parliament has approved three keys of the EU-Singapore agreement which are EU-Singapore Free trade Agreement (EUFSTA), EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement (EUSIPA) and EU-Singapore Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (ESPCA).

According to European Commission’s Press release on 13 February 2019, this approval is considered as a “historical moment” because it is the first bilateral trade agreement between the European Union and a Southeast Asian country and it will benefit and boost the EU economic cooperation with Singapore and entire Southeast Asia region.

Under the trade agreement, Singapore agrees to remove all taxes on EU products and any obstacles to trade beyond tariffs in key sectors. This agreement will make the business environment more predictable and build up new opportunities for EU services’ providers toward the major areas such as telecommunications, environmental services, engineering, computing and maritime transport.

The investment protection agreement will establish a high level of investment protection and safeguard the rights of the EU and Singapore in order to manage and follow public policy objectives such as the protection of public health, safety and the environment.

While the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement will enhance political dialogue and cooperation in the areas such as sustainable development, democracy and fundamental freedoms, justice, security, connectivity, people-to-people links, information society, education, cultural exchanges, employment and social affairs.

With these agreements, the new opportunities will be created to strengthen the relationship between the EU and Singapore as Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission said.

“This is yet another win-win trade agreement negotiated by the European Union, an agreement that will create new opportunities for European producers, workers, farmers and consumers, while at the same time promoting cooperation and multilateralism.”

Moreover, Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Trade added more about the agreements’ commitment and its benefit:

“The agreements will benefit workers and farmers, as well as small and big companies on both sides. They include a strong commitment to human and labour rights and to protecting the environment. This is yet another signal that open, fair and rules-based global trade is here to stay.”

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