Record high in trade between Singapore, EU

European legislators voting for the upcoming European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on Feb 13. The EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement and a partnership and cooperation agreement were a
European legislators voting for the upcoming European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on Feb 13. The EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement and a partnership and cooperation agreement were also given the go-ahead.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Goods trade hit $89b in 2018; total trade over symbolic €100b mark for first time in 2017

Trade in goods between Singapore and the European Union reached a record high of €58.1 billion (S$89 billion) in 2018, a 9 per cent increase from 2017, latest data from the European Commission shows.

The EU has also increased its surplus in goods trade with Singapore, which has been growing since 2015, to hit €16 billion in 2018, up from €13 billion in 2017 .

Singapore exported €21.1 billion worth of goods, mainly organic chemicals and pharmaceutical products, last year - an 11.7 per cent year-on-year increase. Imports, mainly of machinery and transport equipment, from the European bloc also grew, rising by 4.8 per cent to reach €37 .1 billion.

The new trade data included services trade for 2017 but similar data for 2018 is still unavailable.

The data showed that total trade in goods and services surpassed the symbolic €100 billion mark for the first time in 2017. It hit €104 billion, comprising €53.3 billion in goods trade and €51.1 billion in services trade, according to a statement by the EU Delegation to Singapore yesterday.

While Singapore suffered a deficit with the EU on merchandise trade, the 2017 data showed the reverse for investment flow, with more EU investors flocking into Singapore than the other way round.

Foreign direct investment from the EU in 2017 increased by 15.8 per cent year on year, reaching €227 billion, cementing the bloc's position as the largest foreign investor in Singapore. Singapore invested €117 billion in Europe, 14.7 per cent less than in 2016.

The EU Ambassador to Singapore Barbara Plinkert said the trade data between the two jurisdictions was "clear evidence of the dynamic trade and investment relations between two like-minded partners who support free and fair trade".

 
 

The record-breaking trade figures come in the wake of a confident nod by European parliamentarians for the upcoming EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which looks set to be ratified later this year. The EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) and a partnership and cooperation agreement were also given the go-ahead.

The EU Ambassador to Singapore Barbara Plinkert said the trade data between the two jurisdictions was "clear evidence of the dynamic trade and investment relations between two like-minded partners who support free and fair trade".

"The FTA and IPA will further boost economic relations as they facilitate trade and create a transparent framework for investment," she added.

Singapore Manufacturing Federation president Douglas Foo, who is also a Nominated Member of Parliament, said that as manufactured goods make up a sizeable portion of Singapore's EU imports, firms here could feel more competition from EU companies entering the local market.

But this would benefit consumers overall, as the competition will lower prices and raise quality of both goods and services, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2019, with the headline 'Record high in trade between S'pore, EU'. Print Edition | Subscribe