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UK-Singapore free trade agreement to take effect on Jan 1, 2021

UK-Singapore free trade agreement to take effect on Jan 1, 2021

A boat leaves a pier past the Pasir Panjang container port terminal in Singapore on Nov 11, 2020. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: The free trade agreement between Singapore and the United Kingdom will take effect provisionally on Friday (Jan 1), providing "certainty and clarity in trading arrangements" between both countries, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Thursday.

The EU-Singapore free trade agreement will then cease to apply to UK-Singapore trade.

The FTA between Singapore and the United Kingdom was signed on Dec 10 by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss.

The agreement will take effect at 7am Singapore time on Jan 1 via provisional application, which enables countries to apply treaty commitments on a provisional basis while they complete their necessary domestic procedures and relevant international treaty formalities for entry into force.

That is when the Brexit transition period ends for the UK.

Following the signing of the agreement, the UK and Singapore have completed the respective domestic procedures for the agreement’s provisional application, said MTI in a press release.

This will continue until the UK-Singapore FTA is ratified by both countries and enters into force.

Companies trading between the UK and Singapore under the FTA will be able to enjoy the same benefits as those under the EU-Singapore FTA, said MTI.

These include tariff elimination for goods trade and increased access to services and government procurement markets. They also include 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 the spirit of continuity, the UK and Singapore have committed to maintain the same timeline for tariff reductions as the EUSFTA (EU-Singapore FTA)," said MTI in a fact sheet.

The free trade agreement between Singapore and the United Kingdom will take effect provisionally on Jan 1, 2021. (Graphic: Ministry of Trade and Industry)

When the UK-Singapore FTA enters into force, tariffs will remain eliminated for 84 per cent of all tariff lines for Singapore exports to the UK. Virtually all of the remaining tariffs will be eliminated by Nov 21, 2024, similar to the EU-Singapore FTA.

"Singapore companies will also continue to enjoy enhanced market access in the UK for Asian food products made in Singapore, such as har gow (prawn dumplings) and sambal ikan bilis (spicy crispy anchovies)," said MTI.

These will be able to enter the UK tariff-free, up to a combined quota of 350 tonnes annually.

The UK-Singapore FTA will also remove unnecessary technical barriers to trade for Singapore and UK exporters, said MTI.

"This will create a level playing field for UK and Singapore companies and facilitate trade between the UK and Singapore. A wide range of sectors in both the UK and Singapore will benefit, such as electronics, motor vehicles and vehicle parts, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, as well as meat and meat products," it added.

Additionally, the FTA will provide enhanced market access for service providers, professionals and investors.

The agreement covers a wide range of services sectors including architecture, engineering, management consultancy, advertising, computer-related, environmental, postal and courier, maintenance and repair of ships and aircraft, international maritime transport, as well as hotels and restaurants services.

Source: CNA/aj

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