As a small but vibrant trading nation, Singapore strongly supports an open, rules-based multilateral trading system as embodied by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which has fostered global growth and prosperity since its establishment on 1 January 1995. Singapore has been an active and constructive member of the WTO since its inception and we hosted the 1st WTO Ministerial Conference in December 1996.

Amidst rising protectionism, the uncertain global economic climate, and rapidly evolving technological developments, we are working closely with like-minded WTO Members to strengthen the WTO and ensure its relevance in the 21st century. This includes updating WTO rules so that it can respond to new and emerging challenges. Above all, Singapore is committed to ensuring that the WTO will continue to maintain an open, free, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system.


Singapore was the second WTO Member to ratify the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies in February 2023. The Agreement, which was concluded at the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022, prohibits subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated and distant water fishing, and fishing of overfished stocks. It is significant as the first multilateral WTO outcome with environmental sustainability at its core.

Singapore also continues to champion digital trade at the WTO. As lead Co-Convener of the WTO Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on E-Commerce in 2023, Singapore, together with co-conveners Australia and Japan, successfully announced “substantial conclusion” of 13 global digital trade rules that will facilitate electronic transactions, promote digital trade, and foster an open and trusted digital economy. The JSI on E-Commerce, which comprises 90 Members, will deliver tangible benefits to participating Members, businesses and consumers. For instance, businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises, can benefit from more seamless trade and cost-savings through the digital trade facilitation-related provisions. The JSI can also support governments’ digital transformation and greater integration into the global digital economy.

In the face of global economic headwinds and sharper geo-strategic tensions, the WTO acts as an important bulwark against unilateralism and serves the interests of the vast majority of WTO Members. The WTO’s dispute settlement system plays a vital role in preserving the credibility and predictability of the rules-based multilateral trading system, which is particularly important for a small trade-dependent country like Singapore. In this context, Singapore, together with like-minded Members, has emphasised the importance restoring the binding two-tier dispute settlement system. At the same time, Singapore participates in the Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA), which ensures that participating WTO Members will continue to benefit from an appeal stage in WTO dispute settlement.

More information about the WTO can be found at its official website.

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