The ground-breaking new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Singapore, the 16th trade agreement put in place by the EU since 2014, will pave the way for an enhanced trade and investment relationship between the EU and South East Asia, says the global accountancy body
Presented on 18 April 2018 by the European Commission to the Council, the EU-Singapore Trade and Investment Protection Agreements are the first bilateral trade and investment agreements concluded between the EU and a Member State of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The investment protection agreement will enter into force after it has been ratified by all EU Member States. The EU-Singapore trade agreement, which entered into force on 21 November, is also one of the first 'new generation' bilateral agreements, which in addition to the classical removal of customs duties and non-tariff barriers for trade in goods and services, contains important provisions on intellectual property protection, investment liberalisation, public procurement, competition and sustainable development.
Helen Brand OBE, chief executive of ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) says: ‘Singapore, known as a global gateway to Asia and a major business hub of Southeast Asia, is by far the EU's largest trading partner in the Southeast Asian region. The entry into force of the EU-Singapore trade agreement will definitely take the relations between the two partners to a new level. I am convinced that in making the business environment more predictable, this will create much welcome opportunities for EU and Singaporean businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and prosper, thereby also creating new jobs.
‘ACCA has more than 19,000 members and students in Singapore and over 90,000 members and students across the whole ASEAN region. We believe our finance professionals working in Singapore can help both sides benefit from this agreement which covers areas close to the hearts of our members, including sustainable development. We namely welcome the fact that the agreement entails an understanding that trade and investment should strengthen, not weaken, environmental protection and workers’ rights.’
‘The trade and investment agreements with Singapore also contain provisions to simplify trade and investment procedures and reduce export and investment related costs, which will help more small firms to do business in both markets’, Helen Brand adds.
‘During the past decade, the centre of gravity of the global economy has shifted to the Asia Pacific region, and ASEAN has emerged as one of the most dynamic growth engines of the world economy. The open, fair and rules-based trade agreements with Singapore are a good reference point for the other trade and investment agreements the EU is negotiating with ASEAN Member States. And we very much hope that the EU-Singapore agreement will be a concrete building block towards an even more ambitious region-to-region EU-ASEAN FTA’, Helen Brand concluded.
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ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development.
Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.