Singapore has since 1999, pursued a dual track of negotiating multilateral trade agreements as well as bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Singapore's key interest lies in establishing FTAs that are WTO-consistent, with WTO-plus commitments with our key trading partners, thus complementing the multilateral process of advancing global free trade.
Since the signing of our first FTA under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 1993, Singapore's network of FTAs now includes 18 bilateral and regional FTAs in force with 24 trading partners. Singapore's FTAs have been instrumental in helping Singapore-based businesses to strengthen cross-border trade by eliminating or reducing import tariff rates, providing preferential access to services sectors, easing investment rules, improving intellectual property regulations, and opening government procurement opportunities.
Singapore has bilateral FTAs with Australia, China, India, Japan, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the United States and the European Free Trade Association. Two more FTAs with Costa Rica and the Gulf Cooperation Council have been signed and are expected to come into force soon.
On 22 December 2009, negotiations for an FTA with the European Union were launched, the EU’s first with an ASEAN country. The EU-Singapore FTA (EUSFTA) marks a milestone in Singapore's longstanding relations with the EU. Negotiations on the EUSFTA were concluded in December 2012.
The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership or P4 came into effect in 2006 with Singapore, Brunei, Chile and New Zealand. It is the first plurilateral FTA initiative that links economies from across the Pacific. By 2010, five countries – namely Australia, Malaysia, Peru, United States and Vietnam, had joined the original four to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Subsequently, in October 2012, Mexico and Canada also joined the TPP negotiations – having announced their interest at the 2011 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. The 11 parties are now negotiating the shape and coverage of the TPP, which aims to be a comprehensive and ambitious FTA that addresses modern business needs. Together with the ASEAN Plus and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) FTAs, the TPP will serve as building blocks towards greater regional economic integration and an eventual Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.
Within ASEAN, Singapore is committed to working with its ASEAN partners to create the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). ASEAN has also signed FTAs with major regional economies such as Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.
Beyond advancing our economic interests, these intra and inter-regional FTAs help build a web of strategic linkages for Singapore within the region and with countries outside the region. They serve the broader interest of anchoring the presence of our major trading partners in Southeast Asia, and ensuring that they remain as stakeholders here. These FTAs also help to sustain an open regional orientation and prevent the formation of inward-looking trading blocs. This web of interlocking economic and strategic interests will contribute to regional stability, prosperity and security.
Click here to visit Singapore's FTA portal