Free trade agreement with Singapore will bring opportunities for Finnish companies

Free trade agreement with Singapore will bring opportunities for Finnish companies

The EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement was signed in Brussels on 19 October 2018 and is expected to enter into force in early 2019. Singapore is Finland’s and the EU’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. The free trade agreement will dismantle technical trade obstacles, remove customs duties and open up opportunities in the public procurement market.

Steady growth, a business-friendly environment and free trade make Singapore an attractive business environment. The agreement now signed further increases the predictability and stability of the operating environment. The agreement creates good conditions for Finnish business to grow trade in Singapore and across the Southeast Asian region.

Under the agreement, the remaining customs duties will be fully removed within five years at the latest. The dismantling of trade barriers will make market access easier for Finnish SMEs in particular. Businesses will save time and money. In addition, the ambition is to avoid unnecessary multiple inspections of goods. Standards and technical specifications must, as a rule, be based on international standards. The agreement also includes a separate chapter to remove trade obstacles to trade in renewable energy. The goal is to stimulate green growth.

Services account for around 75 per cent of the Singaporean economy. The country is a strategically important service hub for many sectors. The potential to grow trade in services can be regarded as being the most important achievement of the agreement. Singapore will open up its markets in a number of export fields of importance to Finland including in construction, computer, research and development services.

Singapore’s geographical position makes it an important bridgehead to the rest of Asia. Singapore’s container port has important connections to destinations around the world. This gives Finnish businesses more successful market access to the Asian markets.

In 2017, trade in goods between Finland and Singapore was worth around EUR 360 million and trade in services was worth around EUR 480 million in 2016. The most important exports from Finland to Singapore are various health technology products and enzymes. Finland imports, for example, oil, technology products and pharmaceuticals from Singapore.

The EU and Singapore have negotiated a separate Investment Protection Agreement.

Inquiries: Maria Kauko, desk officer, tel. 0295 350 339, maria.kauko@formin.fi