Parliament: Singapore economy, exports expected to grow with CPTPP trade deal, says Chan Chun Sing

Singapore's economy is expected to grow 0.2 per cent by 2035, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Singapore's economy is expected to grow 0.2 per cent more by 2035, arising from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Total exports are also expected to go up by the same percentage in the same period.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing gave these estimates in Parliament on Monday (Aug 6) about the economic benefits of the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

It is expected to come into force by the first quarter of 2019 once six of the 11 countries involved have ratified the agreement. So far, Mexico, Japan and Singapore have done so.

The United States, which had dropped out of the TPP, can decide whether it wishes to join the CPTPP after that, said Mr Chan. US President Donald Trump was said to have expressed interest in rejoining the CPTPP in April.

The multilateral agreement, which Singapore ratified in July, sets out how member countries can trade freely and openly with each other in a rules-based trading system.

Mr Chan said Singapore companies will have better access to opportunities in CPTPP markets, including Mexico and Canada, both of which the Republic currently has no free trade agreements with.

He set out four benefits that the deal will bring to Singapore companies, in response to a parliamentary question by Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC).

First, goods producers, such as those that manufacture processed food, textile and apparel, will be able to tap the preferential tariffs when exporting to a CPTPP nation, he said.

Second, service providers can have preferential access to a wide range of sectors, such as transport and distribution in Australia, energy and telecommunications in Mexico and professional services in Canada, he added.

Third, the removal of foreign equity restrictions in CPTPP markets will also benefit Singaporean investors. Such restrictions would apply to investors in the private healthcare, telecommunications, courier, energy and environmental services sectors in Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, without the CPTPP, for instance.

Fourth, Singaporean enterprises will be able to bid for government tenders in Malaysia, Mexico and Vietnam, which were previously closed to foreign bidders.

"Beyond specific business opportunities, the value of the CPTPP is in establishing a common set of enforceable rules that govern trade and investment in the 21st century," said Mr Chan.

These include rules in the areas of e-commerce, innovative industries, and provisions to help small and medium-sized enterprises, he cited

Mr Chan said his ministry will work with other agencies, such as Enterprise Singapore and the Economic Development Board, and the Singapore Business Federation and other trade associations and chambers to reach out to Singapore firms on the benefits of the CPTPP.

As a whole, the CPTPP is expected to generate an additional $147 billion in global income. Its members account for around 13.5 per cent of the global economy, with a combined market of 500 million people.

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