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The EU and Singapore have initialled the text of a comprehensive free trade agreement on 20 September 2013. The draft agreement needs now to be agreed upon by the European Commission and the Council of Ministers, before being ratified by the European Parliament.

Singapore's economy is in many sectors relatively open to international trade, and its port counts among the largest in the world. Some 8 800 EU companies are established in Singapore and use it as a hub to serve the whole Pacific Rim. Singapore is also by far the EU's largest trading partners in Southeast Asia.

Trade picture

  • Singapore is the EU's 15th largest trading partner (trade in goods) and the EU's largest trading partner in the Association of South-East Nations (ASEAN).
  • EU-Singapore trade in goods grew by some 21% between 2008 and 2013, while trade in services grew even faster, 36% between 2008 and 2012.
  • The EU has a positive balance of trade in goods and in services with Singapore.
  • Singapore is a major destination for European investments in Asia, as well as Asia's second largest investor in the EU (after Japan). In 2012, the existing stock of bilateral foreign direct investment between the EU and Singapore reached € 190 billion, having expanded rapidly over the past years.

EU-Singapore "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2011-2013, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2011 19.2 27.3 8.0
2012 21.6 30.4 8.9
2013 17.6 29.2 11.6

EU-Singapore "trade in services" statistics

Trade in services 2010-2012, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2010 9.5 13.8 4.3
2011 11.6 16.7 5.1
2012 12.0 16.6 4.7

Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2012, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2012 68.6 118.7 50.1

More statistics on Singapore

EU and Singapore

After "region-to-region" negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and ASEAN countries proved difficult, negotiations for an EU-Singapore FTA were launched in March 2010. The EU considers the FTAs with individual ASEAN countries as stepping stones towards an agreement in the regional framework, which remains the ultimate goal.

Key issues on the negotiating agenda included better access to services and procurement markets, tariffs, technical barriers to trade, the protection of intellectual property rights like geographical indications, as well as trade and sustainable development.

Singapore and ASEAN

Singapore is a member of ASEAN and is the EU's largest trading partner in the bloc. Bilateral trade in goods and services between the EU and ASEAN reached over €235 billion in 2012, of which EU-Singapore trade makes up about a third (€80 billion).

Pending the entry into force of the EU-Singapore FTA, the co-operation between both sides is ensured mainly through the EU-ASEAN Dialogue, which includes discussions on trade and investment issues at ministerial and senior economic official levels.

ASEAN as a whole represents the EU's third largest trading partner outside Europe (after the US and China). Negotiating better access for EU exporters to the dynamic ASEAN market is a priority for the EU.

More information on ASEAN

Trading with Singapore