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SINGAPORE: Eurasian Economic Union Ratifies Free Trade Agreement

The country has signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the  five-nation trading body comprising Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. The treaty – the EAEU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EAEUSFTA) –  extends across the mutual trade in goods, reductions to tariff and non-tariff barriers, maintenance of fair competition, customs cooperation, promotion of government procurement, environmental protection, respect for intellectual property rights and e-commerce protocols. It will come into force once it has been ratified by the parliaments of all six signatory nations. Singapore has also signed an agreement with Armenia within the framework of the FTA, with regard to trade and investment in the services sector, with similar agreements with the remaining four EAEU states still under negotiation.

Once fully enacted, EAEUSFTA will eliminate or reduce duties on 90% of Singapore’s exports to the East European trading bloc, increasing to 97% over a 10-year period. Among the items set to benefit are mineral fuels, oils and their distillates, prepared foodstuffs, machinery and mechanical equipment, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and precision instruments. As for the EAEU, the agreement will eliminate duties on nearly all its exports to Singapore, save for those in the few sectors that remain protected.

The FTA also facilitates regulatory cooperation between the two sides, particularly with regard to investment protection, intellectual property rights, stamping out unfair competition, trade facilitation, e-commerce protocols and the mutual streamlining of customs procedures. In more specific terms, this will see any exports between the two parties subject to 24 hours customs clearances, with priority items approved within four hours.

In 2018, the total trade between Singapore and the EAEU was valued at US$6.5 billion. Singapore’s primary exports to the EAEU include machinery and metals, while its main imports from the bloc include petroleum and mineral oils.

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