How Free Trade Agreements Benefit Singapore Companies Venturing Overseas-CNA


About Singapore's
Free Trade Agreements
Singapore has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with many major economies around the world. These agreements help Singapore companies expand their businesses and give them more certainty when investing overseas by:
FTAs reduce or remove tariffs, making exports cheaper and more competitive. Companies also enjoy faster customs clearance on their exports, with more efficient customs procedures.
FTAs eliminate unfair trade and investment policies and practices that benefit domestic companies. This creates a level playing field for companies entering these markets.
FTAs like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the ASEAN Free Trade Agreements protect and enforce companies' Intellectual Property (IP) rights. They also allow companies to seek international arbitration to resolve disputes between them and the host governments.
Take your company global
About the
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership
The 11 countries in the CPTPP are major economies located around the Pacific Ocean. Together, they constitute 14% of the global economy, and have a combined GDP of almost S$13 trillion.
Countries in the CPTPP make up 22% of Singapore's total goods trade.
Removal of tariffs on almost all trades
For example, manufacturers and exporters of goods such as processed foods and electronics enjoy reduced tariffs under the CPTPP. In addition, Canada will eliminate tariffs on 99% of Singapore’s exports into its market, while Mexico will eliminate tariffs on 88% of Singapore’s exports.

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Removal of restrictions on certain trades
For example, companies in information technology (IT), construction and consultancy sectors are allowed to bid for government procurement projects in Mexico and Vietnam — once closed to foreign bidders before the CPTPP. Foreign equity restrictions from the healthcare, telecommunications, courier, energy and environmental services sectors have also been removed in Vietnam.

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Preferential access to various sectors across CPTPP markets
These include:
  • Transportation (air, road and rail) and distribution services in Australia
  • Energy and telecommunications in Mexico
  • Professional services in Canada

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Stronger international trade and investment rules for fair competition and to promote sustainable trade
For example, the CPTPP establishes rules to promote a level playing field between state-owned enterprises and privately-owned enterprises, while encouraging transparency and sound business practices. The CPTPP also ensures that CPTPP countries commit to improving labour conditions and work together to address a range of environmental challenges.

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Rules towards a robust and balanced Intellectual Property (IP) regime in the Asia Pacific
For example, the CPTPP helps protect companies’ Intellectual Property (IP) by requiring participating governments to:
  • Create common standards for the different types of IP, including patents, copyrights and trademarks
  • Join the business facilitative agreements of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • Easier registration and protection of trademarks and patents

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A Boost For E-Commerce
New regulations in the CPTPP protect cross-border flows of data and remove tariffs from digital products that are transmitted electronically.
CPTPP countries no longer require companies to set up data servers within their borders as a precondition for being allowed to offer services to their citizens.
Consumers benefit from CPTPP countries’ commitment to adopt and maintain consumer protection laws related to fraudulent and deceptive commercial activities online.
E-commerce companies will benefit from CPTPP regulations that remove tariffs tied to digital products.
Geared towards helping small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMES)
Enjoy lower business costs, with the removal of tariffs and upgrading of trade and investment rules under the CPTPP.
Benefit from better access and ease of integration into production and supply chains around the Pacific Rim.
Find it easier to understand regulations and procedures related to doing trade across borders through SME-friendly websites set up by each CPTPP country.
For the full list of Singapore's bilateral and regional FTAs that have been signed or are under negotiation, visit
For more information on the tariff concessions applicable under Singapore's FTAs, visit

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) help you access overseas markets more easily so that you can grow your business and compete internationally.

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