Free trade agreements (FAs) have been in the news lately. For example, India has decided not to sign the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. The RCEP had been negotiated for seven years by 16 countries. It would have created the largest free trade area in the world. First, Singapore lives on trade and therefore attaches the greatest importance to the WTO. Singapore`s extensive free trade agreements (FTAs), combined with a transparent legal system and a trained workforce, have been evaluated to accelerate the country`s transformation into a first world economy. Third, there are 4,500 U.S. companies that have set up factories or regional headquarters in Singapore. It has also created jobs for Singaporeans and benefits for our economy.
The agreement is expected to be the first free trade agreement with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the third with an Asian country after South Korea and Japan from the EU`s point of view. Singapore is the EU`s 14th largest trading partner. There are two types of free trade agreements: bilateral (agreements between Singapore and a single trading partner) and regional agreements (signed between Singapore and a group of trading partners). First, it has enabled Singapore exporters to gain duty-free access to the U.S. market of 330 million consumers. In their own countries, some Singaporeans have attacked the 2005 Free Trade Agreement between Singapore and India, the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECSC). The criticism is that CECA contains a defect. The mistake is that too many Indians have allowed to work in Singapore, depriving Singaporeans of jobs. In 1996, this position was supported by the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Forum. Singapore has followed the principle that all bilateral and regional trade agreements it has negotiated must be compatible with its WTO obligations.
The RCEP establishes a modern, comprehensive, quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership that builds on ASEAN`s existing bilateral agreements with its five partners in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The RCEP, which accounts for about 30% of the world`s gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for nearly one-third of the world`s population, is the world`s largest free trade agreement to date. As an important regional agreement, the Singapore RCEP will complement the existing network of free trade agreements, expand our economic space and stimulate trade and investment flows. Ceca does not guarantee the employment of Indian skilled workers in Singapore, nor preferential treatment compared to Singaporeans. CeCA conferences are intended for transferees and Indian professionals who work in Singapore for certain durations, provided they meet our qualification criteria for the work passport.