Free trade agreement to benefit Irish firms exporting to Singapore

Irish firms exporting to Singapore are set to benefit as the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is officially signed today (Friday, October 19) in Brussels.

This agreement, along with an Investment Protection Agreement, will be signed at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit.

Ireland has been firmly supportive of this FTA and the economic benefits it will offer, according to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys.

“Strong exports are essential to the continued growth of the Irish economy and the agreement will eliminate nearly all duties paid by Irish firms exporting to Singapore and will simplify customs procedures, helping to open up new market opportunities for our firms in one of the strongest economies in Asia.

Irish exports to Singapore are currently worth in the region of €2.4 billion a year. Services exports are particularly strong having more than doubled since 2012 and the trade agreement will increase market access, creating opportunities for that growth to continue.

The EU-Singapore FTA will eliminate nearly all import duties on EU-Singapore trade within five years of its entry into force. The agreement will also address non-tariff barriers to trade through measures, such as better facilitation of exports of EU animal products.

It is expected that the FTA will benefit Irish companies producing electronics, certain green technologies, and pharmaceuticals – by enabling their goods to be recognised and approved more swiftly and easily.

The agreement is also set to provide opportunities for Irish-based service providers, in particular providers of financial services, through greater market access.

Opening new opportunities

Meanwhile, the FTA is expected to enter in force in 2019, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom has said.

Continuing, the commissioner added: “Opening new opportunities for European producers, farmers, service providers and investors is a key priority for this commission.

These deals do precisely that, and more – Singapore is an important gateway to the whole Asia-Pacific area. It is vital that our companies can have a foothold there.

“These agreements also promote sustainable development, as they include ambitious commitments on the protection of the environment and labour rights and uphold the right to regulate.”