20 November 2019 Today, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, welcomed the entry into force of the important Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Singapore.
The Agreement was signed in October 2018 and ratified by the European Parliament in February 2019. However it was necessary for Singapore to establish a system to recognise regional names for EU food and beverage products, known as Geographical Indications, before entry into force of the Agreement. Singapore has now introduced a registry to ensure there is legal protection for these regional agri-food products, including Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream, enabling the Agreement to come into effect.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Minister Humphreys said:
“Ireland and Singapore enjoy an excellent trading relationship with Irish exports to Singapore currently worth in the region of €2.4bn a year. We are working both bilaterally and within the EU to strengthen that relationship even further. In March of this year I led an Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland trade and investment mission to Australia and Singapore with companies spanning a number of sectors including Fintech, Medtech, Engineering, E-Learning, Agri-tech, ICT and emerging technologies. I am confident that the groundwork has been done to ensure that Ireland can maximise the benefits provided by this important Agreement.
I firmly support this FTA and the economic benefits it offers. Strong export growth is essential to the continued growth of the Irish economy and this Agreement makes it easier for Irish businesses to access new market opportunities in one of the strongest economies in Asia, by eliminating nearly all duties on Irish exports to Singapore; by simplifying customs procedures; and by facilitating the trade of services.”
The EU-Singapore FTA will eliminate nearly all import duties on EU-Singapore trade within five years of its entry into force. The agreement will also address non-tariff barriers to trade through measures such as better facilitation of exports of EU animal products. The FTA will benefit Irish companies producing electronics, certain green technologies, and pharmaceuticals, by enabling their goods to be recognised and approved more swiftly and easily. The agreement will also provide opportunities for Irish-based service providers, in particular providers of financial services, through greater market access.
Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD also welcomed the Agreement:
“Developments in the digital economy in recent years have made the cross-border trade of services increasingly important. The EU-Singapore FTA is a modern and comprehensive Trade Agreement which includes provisions relating to services and digital trade in addition to more traditional measures relating to the trade of goods and the elimination of tariffs. Ireland’s services trade with Singapore is particularly strong and has more than doubled since 2012. I am pleased to welcome this trade agreement which I believe will enable Irish businesses to create more jobs by generating the right conditions for the continued growth in the services trade.”
Irish-owned SMEs are already developing strong trade links with Singapore and this trade is growing steadily. Today, more than 130 Irish SMEs have a presence in Singapore. Enterprise Ireland is working closely with companies on the ground to grow their businesses while Bord Bia opened an office in Singapore in 2016 to increase Irish exports of agri-food products to Singapore. Exports of dairy products increased by 92% between 2016 and 2017. The FTA will support the continued growth of Irish trade with Singapore through the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade.