S'pore endorses WTO initiative to regulate requirements for domestic service providers

As a small and open economy, Singapore cannot afford to be closed off to the world.
As a small and open economy, Singapore cannot afford to be closed off to the world.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Singapore will join a World Trade Organisation (WTO) initiative regulating standards for domestic service providers.

The initiative "will establish enhanced rules to improve the overseas business environment for Singapore's services exporters", noted Mr Lee Chuan Teck, Permanent Secretary (Development) at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The regulations require participating WTO members to respond to inquiries from businesses and publish information on authorisation requirements and processes, he added.

The rules will also ensure predictability and fairness by requiring that regulatory processes be based on objective and transparent criteria.

Mr Lee made his comments on Wednesday (Sept 22) in the Swiss city of Geneva, the venue for Singapore's eighth Trade Policy Review (TPR).

As a WTO member, Singapore must periodically review its trade and economic policies. Its last TPR was in 2016.

Mr Lee said Singapore retains its aspiration of being a global business node. "As a small and open economy, Singapore cannot afford to be closed off to the world," he said.