In October 2018, the EU signed the long awaited trade and investment agreements with Singapore. The new regulations will help companies benefit from easier exchange of goods and services, enhanced investment and facilitatеd labour market between Singapore and the countries from the EU. The EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements led to increased interest from Central and Eastern European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania etc. to work hard over exploring the opportunities of doing business with Singapore.
This article aims to help Bulgarian companies interested in market opportunities in Singapore by providing key facts on the agreements and useful links to more detailed information about the regulations in the different sectors and types of activities. You will also find a list of organisations providing consultancy and trade support services to facilitate the bilateral partnerships between Bulgaria and Singapore.
A snapshot of the EU-Singapore trade
Singapore is the 20th smallest country in the world with a population of 5.6 million people, but it is the EU’s 14th largest trade partner in goods, as well as the biggest partner for the Union in the region of Southeast Asia. In 2017, bilateral trade in goods amounted €53.3 billion, with the EU exporting €33.16 billion, mainly cars and machinery, while importing €20.14 billion, in particular chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
The country is a gateway to Southeast Asia and a major transport hub. It has an extensive network of trade agreements with over 30 trading partners and trades more than €550 billion with the rest of the world every year. Over 10 000 European companies have set up their offices or regional hubs in Singapore. With a very service-oriented economy, Singapore is also the EU’s 5th largest worldwide trade partner in services and the EU’s 6th destination for foreign direct investment measured in stock.
Benefits under the EU-Singapore agreements
The EU and Singapore negotiated and signed two agreements: the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Investment Protection Agreement (IPA).
Although the trade and investment agreements with Singapore do not include a specific chapter dedicated to small and midsize businesses, they do contain provisions to simplify trade and investment procedures and reduce export and investment-related costs. This will help more small companies to do business in both markets.
European Commission, EU-Singapore Agreement – the page contains fact sheets about the agreement, information page about the trade relations between the EU and Singapore, exporters’ stories and more
Trade Helpdesk of the EC – the trade relations between the EU and Singapore in figures
Infographics and useful links from the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore website
The EU-Singapore agreements explained on the website of the European Commission
Organisations providing consultancy and trade support services:
BSiP Alliance – organisation, dedicated to helping Bulgarian businesses enter and succeed in Singapore, as well as helping companies in Singapore discover and leverage the potential of Eastern Europe both as a market and an entry point for the rest of Europe. BSiP is actively engaged with the Bulgarian community in Singapore and supports sectors such as public and private finance, marketing, F&B, tourism, education, IT, engineering, shipping and others.
The official opening of the Central and Eastern European Chamber of Commerce Singapore (CEEC-Singapore) is also expected to take place this year. Follow us for more news on the topic.