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EU and Singapore submits free trade agreement for approval

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September 20
6:37 AM 2013

The European Union and Singapore concluded what Reuters reported as one of the most comprehensive free trade agreements in the world on Friday. This would be one of the first steps for the EU to open deals with the other nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Singapore accounts for one-third of the investments between the EU and ASEAN despite its small population. Over 9,000 European firms do business in Singapore. Mutual investments between the EU and Singapore have amounted to EUR 190 billion.

Singapore is also home to the world's largest oil refining centers, with Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil as its main operators. The agreement would also fuel the export of Singapore's petroleum products to the EU because tariff reductions would also be enjoyed by refiners.

The 1,000-page document inked by both sides would also make it easier for European lenders and insurance firms doing business in Singapore to grow. Reuters reported that the deal would potentially be advantageous for the operations of banks like Standard Chartered, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Barclays. The agreement would also give the right to companies from both the EU and Singapore to directly sell or create outlets in one another's markets. It would also allow for greater transparency in the awarding of licenses. 

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