UK-Singapore free trade agreement to take effect on January 1

CNA – The free trade agreement (FTA) between Singapore and the United Kingdom (UK) will take effect provisionally on today, providing “certainty and clarity in trading arrangements” between both countries, said its Ministry of Trade and Industry yesterday.

The European Union (EU)-Singapore free trade agreement will then cease to apply to UK-Singapore trade.

The FTA between Singapore and the United Kingdom was signed on December 10 by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss.

The agreement will take effect at 7am Singapore time today via provisional application, which enables countries to apply treaty commitments on a provisional basis while they complete their necessary domestic procedures and relevant international treaty formalities for entry into force.

That is when the Brexit transition period ends for the UK.

Following the signing of the agreement, the UK and Singapore have completed the respective domestic procedures for the agreement’s provisional application, said MTI in a press release.

This will continue until the UK-Singapore FTA is ratified by both countries and enters into force. Companies trading between the UK and Singapore under the FTA will be able to enjoy the same benefits as those under the EU-Singapore FTA, said MTI.

These include tariff elimination for goods trade and increased access to services and government procurement markets. They also include reduction of non-tariff barriers including in four major sectors: Electronics; motor vehicles and vehicle parts; pharmaceutical products and medical devices; and renewable energy generation.

“In the spirit of continuity, the UK and Singapore have committed to maintain the same timeline for tariff reductions as the EUSFTA (EU-Singapore FTA),” said MTI in a fact sheet.