Bilateral trade and investment negotiations with Singapore began in 2010 and ended in 2017. The agreements with Singapore are the first to be concluded between the EU and a South-East Asian country and are a step towards stronger engagement between the EU and the region. The country`s 13 bilateral free trade agreements and 11 regional free trade agreements include some of the largest combined trade agreements in the ASEAN-China, ASEAN-India and ASEAN-Hong Kong trading blocs, which give Singapore-based companies access to preferential markets, free or reduced import duties, and improved intellectual property rules. All trade in industrial products, fish and other seafood from EFTA states will have duty-free access to these markets as soon as the agreement enters into force. Investment protection disciplines are consistent with those typically found in bilateral investment protection agreements, including provisions on promotion and protection, national salaries and MFN, taxation, expropriation and compensation, national regulation, transfers and key personnel. The agreement also provides for the possibility of a direct settlement of disputes between one party and an investor of another. These disputes may be subject to binding arbitration proceedings, provided both parties agree. Reservations about the chapter are contained in Appendix XI. The European Parliament approved the agreements on 13 February 2019. EU member states approved the trade agreement on 8 November 2019.
It came into force on November 21, 2019. The investment protection agreement will enter into force after being ratified by all EU Member States according to their own national procedures. On 19 October 2018, three agreements were signed between the parties, the EU-Singapore trade agreement, the EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement and the Framework Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.   The agreement was approved by the European Parliament on 13 February 2019.  On November 8, 2019, it was announced that the agreement will enter into force on November 21, 2019. This comes after the Council of the European Union approved the agreement.  Free trade agreements are agreements that facilitate trade and investment between two or more economies. Singapore has an open economy, fuelled by trade in goods and services. Over the years, it has established an extensive network of 25 agreements implemented.
The agreement has a global scope, including trade in products (industrial products, processed agricultural products, fish and seafood), trade in services, investment, protection of intellectual property rights, public procurement and competition. Bilateral agreements on basic agricultural products between the different EFTA countries and Singapore are also part of the instruments for creating the free trade area. The agreement is expected to be the first free trade agreement with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the third with an Asian country after South Korea and Japan from the EU`s point of view. Singapore is the EU`s 14th largest trading partner. For the free trade agreement to enter into force, the EU (parliament and council) and Singapore must ratify the agreement. On 13 February 2019, the European Parliament approved both the free trade agreement and the investment protection agreement, and the free trade agreement is expected to enter into force as soon as possible.   Since the inception of the CSFTA, China has since become Singapore`s largest trading partner, with a total trade volume of more than $135 billion in 2019.