UK-Singapore FTA enters into force

UK-Singapore FTA enters into force

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  • This marks the entry into force of the first FTA between the UK and an ASEAN country and signals the UK’s intent to deepen its economic engagement with the region
  • Under the FTA, Singapore and UK companies will enjoy the same benefits that they received under the EU-Singapore FTA
  • The UKSFTA will continue to provide for liberal and flexible rules of origin for the UK and Singapore’s key exports to each other’s markets

The UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (UKSFTA) has entered into force on February 11, 2021, the first FTA between the UK and a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to do so, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) of Singapore announced.

The UKSFTA took effect via provisional application on January 1, 2021 after it was signed December 10, 2020 by Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss. The UK and Singapore have since worked swiftly to complete the applicable legal requirements and procedures for the agreement’s entry into force.

Chan said, “The UKSFTA’s entry into force signals the strong commitment of the UK and Singapore to ensure continuity and certainty in trading arrangements between both countries. It will deepen the strong economic relations both countries share.”

He added: “This also marks the entry-into-force of the first FTA between the UK and an ASEAN country, and sends a strong signal of the UK’s commitment to deepen its economic engagement with the region. We hope that companies will utilise this FTA and enjoy its benefits.”

Under the UKSFTA, Singapore and UK companies will enjoy the same benefits that they received under the EU-Singapore FTA (EUSFTA). These include tariff elimination for goods trade and increased access to their respective services and government procurement markets.

Tariffs will remain eliminated for 84% of all tariff lines for Singapore exports to the UK. Virtually all of the remaining tariffs will be eliminated by November 21, 2024, similar to the EUSFTA. Singapore will also continue to bind its current level of duty-free access under the EUSFTA for all UK products entering Singapore.

The UKSFTA will continue to provide for liberal and flexible rules of origin (ROO) for the UK and Singapore’s key exports to each other’s markets, including automobiles, chemicals, clothing and textiles, electronics, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and petrochemicals.

Singapore companies will also continue to enjoy enhanced market access in the UK for Asian food products made in Singapore. These will be able to enter the UK tariff-free under flexible ROOs, up to a combined quota of 350 tons annually. This is separate from the quota provided for under the EUSFTA.

The FTA also provides for the reduction of non-tariff barriers including in four major sectors: electronics; motor vehicles and vehicle parts; pharmaceutical products and medical devices; and renewable energy generation.

In addition, the UK and Singapore will work to mutually recognize each other’s authorized economic operator (AEO) schemes within two years of the UKSFTA’s entry into force. This would enable AEO companies certified by Singapore Customs to benefit from facilitated documentary and cargo clearance for their shipments.

The UKSFTA will help Singapore and the UK to strengthen their roles as business hubs in their respective regions and serve as a pathfinder for the UK’s engagement of the Southeast Asian region, MTI said.

Photo by Daniel Welsh on Unsplash

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