Singapore ratifies Asia-Pacific trade deal for market of 500 million people

Representatives of members of CPTPP deal, including Singapore's then Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade), Mr Lim Hng Kiang (left), pose for an official picture after the signing agreement ceremony in Santiago, Chile, on March 8, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore has ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), becoming the third nation to do so after Mexico and Japan.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a statement on Thursday (July 19) that the CPTPP is a high-quality agreement that will reduce market barriers as well as foster trade in a combined market of 500 million people with a gross domestic product of US$10 trillion (S$13 trillion).

The historic trade deal establishes rules in new areas, such as e-commerce, and will enter into force 60 days after six of the 11 signatories ratify the agreement.

Mexico was the first to ratify the agreement in April, with Japan following suit on July 6. The remaining countries in the bloc are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam.

Negotiations on the CPTPP concluded on Jan 23 in Tokyo. The agreement was subsequently signed on March 8 in Santiago, Chile.

The CPTPP is a revision of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership which the US withdrew from in January 2017.

In the statement, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing called the CPTPP an important agreement that will complement Singapore's existing network of bilateral free trade agreements.

"It will strengthen trade among countries in the Asia-Pacific, resulting in a more seamless flow of goods, services and investment," he said.

Against the current backdrop of trade tensions and anti-globalisation sentiments, the CPTPP also sends a strong signal of Singapore's commitment to trade liberalisation and a rules-based trading system, he added.

He said that the CPTPP is an open and inclusive agreement, and Singapore welcomes like-minded parties to join the CPTPP after it has entered into force.

In a Facebook post on Thursday night, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "Amid growing trade tensions and anti-globalisation sentiments, the CPTPP signals Singapore's commitment to free trade and a rules-based trading system."

He added that Singapore looks forward to more CPTPP members ratifying the agreement soon.

PM Lee said in March that the signing was a significant achievement for the 11 nations involved.

It demonstrates that these countries "know how to make a win-win deal" in a time of rising nationalism, protectionism and the threat of trade wars, he said.

Singapore companies that are interested in business and investment opportunities in the CPTPP countries can contact Enterprise Singapore at or visit MTI's website for more information.

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