28 January 2021

On 1 January 2021, the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“UKSFTA”) came into effect. The EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“EUSFTA”) ceased to apply to UK-Singapore trade on the same day.

Following the signing of the UKSFTA on 10 December 2020 by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss, the UK and Singapore have completed the respective domestic procedures for the agreement’s provisional application. This will continue until the UKSFTA is ratified by both countries and enters into force.

The UKSFTA provides certainty and clarity in trading arrangements between both countries. Companies will be able to enjoy the same EUSFTA benefits when trading between the UK and Singapore under the UKSFTA. These include tariff elimination for goods trade, increased access to their respective services and government procurement markets, as well as reduction of non-tariff barriers. The UKSFTA will also support the regional operations and supply chains of companies in the UK and Singapore by allowing for both EU-27 and ASEAN cumulation. In line with the current arrangement under the EUSFTA, UK and Singapore companies can continue to use materials and parts sourced from the EU-27 in their exports to each other’s markets.

Representatives of Singapore and the UK also agreed to start scoping the modules of a UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (“DEA”), with a view to launching negotiations on the DEA in 2021. Such a DEA will facilitate more seamless digital trade and business between the UK and Singapore by promoting cross-border digital connectivity and interoperability of digital standards and systems.

Reference materials

The following materials are available on the Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MTI”) website www.mti.gov.sg: