The European Parliament today approved a free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Singapore, which seeks to remove barriers and facilitate market integration while protecting geographical indications such as Portuguese wines and cheese.
The decision was taken at the plenary session of the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg, with 425 votes in favor, 186 against and 41 abstentions.
In a statement, the European Parliament said that this agreement “eliminates tariff and non-tariff barriers, opens up the European business services sector and protects geographical indications”.
There will be, in all, 190 geographical indications to be preserved, including Port, Douro, Dão, Bairrada, Vinho Verde, Alentejo, Madeira, and S.Jorge Cheese.
Singapore is also the EU’s fifth largest export market in Asia in the food and beverage sector, a trade that yields around two billion euros per year.
In what is the first bilateral trade agreement between the EU and a member country of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Singapore is expected to recognize “EU safety tests on cars and automotive components as well as on certain electronic equipment “and to accept” EU labels and marking on clothing and textiles “.
With regard to public procurement, EU access to the supply of goods and services to the government of Singapore is expected to expand, a market that currently amounts to € 20 million per year.
With regard to trade in services, the financial, postal and courier services, telecommunications, transport, and information technology sectors are covered, with mutual recognition of professional qualifications, in particular for architects, lawyers, and engineers, in accordance with the European Parliament.
In the environmental area, Singapore has also pledged to “implement the international conventions on labor rights and the Paris agreement on climate change” and to ensure, together with the EU, the sustainable management of forests and fisheries, he adds.
The agreement comes into force after endorsement by the EU Council, where countries are represented.
This Asian country is the EU’s largest partner in the region, accounting for about a third of trade in goods and services between the EU and ASEAN and close to two-thirds of investment between the two regions.
Some 10 thousand European companies are also represented there.