Singapore, EAEU ink new free trade deal, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Singapore, EAEU ink new free trade deal

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Deal will deepen ties and lead to greater trade investments between the two sides, says PM Lee

A new free trade agreement (FTA) signed between Singapore and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will deepen ties and catalyse greater trade and investments between the two sides, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

But the agreement is also "significant because it shows our resolve to resist the tide of protectionism".

He said he was glad Singapore has found in the members of the EAEU - comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia - "like-minded partners committed to multilateralism and free trade".

"We are convinced that free trade will foster competition and innovation, allow our businesses access to new technologies and global networks, increase our productivity and grow our economies," he added.

PM Lee was speaking at a joint press conference with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) chairman Tigran Sargsyan, following the signing of two deals under the EAEU-Singapore FTA.

Mr Lee said he hopes the FTA will lead to a broader trade deal between the EAEU and Asean.

"We have 800 million people between us, so it would be a substantial FTA. Such an FTA will help us unlock many more opportunities and realise our full potential," he said.

On the benefits of the FTA, he noted that trade between the EAEU and Singapore now stands at US$6.5 billion (S$9 billion), which is "not insignificant, but still quite modest".

When the agreement comes into force, Singapore companies can enjoy lower tariffs and non-tariff barriers, he added.

"These are tangible benefits that can immediately and meaningfully boost our trade. In the longer term, regulatory cooperation, enhanced business linkages and greater familiarity with each other will enable our companies to operate across our regions with more ease and efficiency," he said.

After the press conference, Singapore and Armenia signed the bilateral Services & Investment Agreement, which is part of the EAEU-Singapore FTA.

PM Lee said he was looking forward to a swift conclusion of the remaining agreements with other EAEU members.

Mr Sargsyan said the EAEU-Singapore FTA is a good example of how the union can structure trade deals with other countries.

"We hope to continue this practice further," he added.