Under the agreement, Singapore will remove all remaining tariffs on EU products, providing new opportunities for EU services' providers in sectors such as telecommunications, environmental services, engineering, computing and maritime transport, making the business environment more predictable.
Singapore further agreed to remove obstacles to trade besides tariffs in key sectors, for instance by recognising the EU's safety tests for cars and many electronic appliances or by accepting labels that EU companies use for textiles.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission stated that the
Trade has created 5 million new jobs in the EU since I took office in 2014, and now contributes to the employment of 36 million people. This, together with the fact that it accounts for 35% of the EU GDP, shows how critical trade is for Europe's prosperity.
Further to this, Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Trade said that "The agreement will benefit workers, farmers and companies of all sizes, both here and in Singapore. It also includes strong clauses protecting human and labour rights and the environment. This agreement means that in the last five years we have put in place 16 EU trade deals. This brings the total to 42 trade agreements with 73 partners, accounting for a third of total EU trade. This is the largest such network in the world.”
Singapore is the number one location for European investment in Asia, with investment between the EU and Singapore growing rapidly in recent years with the combined bilateral investment stocks amounting to €344 billion in 2017. Further to this, Singapore is the EU's largest trading partner in the Southeast Asian region, with a total bilateral trade in goods of over €53 billion and another €51 billion of trade in services.
European shipowners have previously applauded the signature of the EU-Singapore trade agreement, as it represents EU and Singapore's 'commitment to free, fair and rules-based trade at a time that protectionism is on the rise'.
In April last year, the European Commission presented trade agreements with Japan and Singapore to the Council to eventually be adopted. The European shipowners welcomed this move, noting that this was the first step towards the conclusion of these agreements, which "send a strong message to the world in support of fair and regulated trade".