14:16 | 27/11/2019 Global Economy
The landmark free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and Singapore officially came into force on November 21.
|The Marina Bay in Singapore|
The FTA, the first of its kind between the EU and a member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), removes nearly all customs duties between the two sides.
The reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers under the deal provides Singaporean companies with greater market access to all EU member nations.
The FTA also contains rules on trade and sustainable development, including the protection of labour rights and the environment.
The EU is Singapore's third-largest goods trading partner, while Singapore is the EU's largest goods trading partner in ASEAN.
Bilateral trade in goods exceeded 114 billion SGD (about 83.7 billion USD) last year, of which 49 billion SGD was exports from Singapore.
The EU is also Singapore's largest services trading partner. Bilateral trade in services in 2017 surpassed 79 billion SGD.
As of December 2018, about 14,000 European companies had invested in Singapore.
Singapore is also the EU's largest investment destination in ASEAN and its second-largest in Asia.
In 2017, the EU invested over 376 billion SGD in Singapore, while Singapore poured around 122 billion SGD in the EU, making it the union’s seventh-largest foreign investor.