Free Trade between the EU and Singapore

On 21 November 2019, an agreement on economic partnership was entered into between the EU and Singapore. Since then, all products originating in the EU may be imported to Singapore without customs duties. Similarly, the EU removed customs duties for most products originating in Singapore. For selected items, the EU made a commitment to gradually reduce customs duties in the period of the next three to five years.

As in other agreements, free trade in goods will be based on the preferential origin of goods. With respect to trading with Singapore, specific rules for preferential origin are part of this agreement. As regards exports to Singapore, the EU exporters may certify preferential origin by an approved exporter’s declaration being part of an invoice or another trade document (for consignments with a value exceeding EUR 6,000, the declaration may be issued by any exporter). Exports from Singapore are governed by Singaporean legislation. The text of the declaration of the origin of goods does not differ from similar agreements.

If you intend to certify the preferential origin of goods in the exports to Singapore, it will certainly be necessary for the goods to meet the respective rule for origin stipulated in the agreement between the EU and Singapore. It should also be borne in mind that supplier’s declarations relating to materials originating in the EU that were used for production should newly cover the trade with Singapore.

An inaccurate application and certification of preferential origin may result in complications on the part of not only the EU exporters but also, subsequently, your customers in Singapore. By analogy, if your Singaporean supplier applies the respective rules incorrectly, your company importing the goods in question to the EU may face serious issues. We recommend paying close attention to this matter to ensure that your company uses the relating benefits as appropriate and on time.

Considering that the assessment of the preferential origin of goods is principally based on an accurate tariff classification of goods, it is advisable to focus on this matter as well.

Unifying standards and legal protection of selected foodstuffs

The impacts of the agreement will be further noticeable in unifying standards for the security testing of cars or other electrical devices, designation of clothing, pharmaceutical products, eco-friendly technology as well as in sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The agreement also involves providing legal protection for 138 original European foodstuffs with protected geographical indication (PGI).

Singapore – the EU’s largest business partner in Southeast Asia

Mutual trade in goods and services between both partners exceeds EUR 100 billion. In 2017, the fast-growing investments between the EU and Singapore amounted to EUR 344 billion. Singapore is thus the EU’s largest business partner in Southeast Asia. In this context, the agreement has an immense significance for bilateral relations.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, we will be delighted to assist you.

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