Singapore, EU ink agreements to drive collaboration, business activities

Bilateral trade between Singapore and the EU has held steady over 2020.
Bilateral trade between Singapore and the EU has held steady over 2020.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Two agreements to facilitate cooperation and business activities between Singapore and the European Union (EU) were signed on Thursday (Dec 3).

One is an administrative arrangement between Singapore and the European Commission on cluster cooperation and the other is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the European Chamber of Commerce, Singapore (EuroCham).

They were both inked at a hybrid physical/virtual event, with the physical signing taking place at InterContinental Singapore, to mark the first anniversary of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) coming into force.

The EUSFTA kicked in on Nov 21, 2019.

The administrative agreement will provide a framework for facilitating cooperation and business activities between industry clusters in Singapore and the EU, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the European Union Delegation said in a joint release on Thursday.

Activities under the framework include regular exchanges and business matchmaking events where Singapore and European business communities can connect and develop strategic partnerships.

Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, who is also Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, highlighted how bilateral trade between the EU and Singapore has held steady over 2020 despite the economic and health challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, with the EUSFTA helping to cushion the impact.

"The EUSFTA is a prime example of a high-quality trade agreement which will bring about many tangible benefits to businesses, especially SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), to navigate the current global economic slowdown.

"Agreements like the EUSFTA and the new administrative agreement on cluster collaboration also open up new pathways for businesses to access opportunities in priority sectors for Singapore and the EU, such as renewable energy and sustainable urban solutions," Mr Iswaran said.

The SBF and the EuroCham have committed to deepening collaboration in the areas of sustainability, digitalisation, internationalisation and corporate social responsibility.

The partnership under the MOU covers cross-marketing and co-organisation of initiatives related to sustainability. It also includes cooperation in internationalisation and EUSFTA outreach activities.

EuroCham president Federico Donato said: "Together, EuroCham and SBF will strengthen the nexus between European and Singaporean businesses, reinforcing national commitments to improve trade and investment relations between our countries."

Mr Ho Meng Kit, chief executive of the SBF, said the MOU is reflective of the strong synergies between Singapore and European businesses and the trusted relationship between the two jurisdictions.

"Like the EUSFTA, the MOU will be a win for the business community and pave the way for deeper and more multifaceted collaboration among our businesses," he said.