EU: Trade Agreements

House of Lords written question – answered on 8th January 2013.

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Photo of Lord Stoddart of Swindon Lord Stoddart of Swindon Independent Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint on 14 December (WA 263), given that Singapore does not impose tariffs on imports, what benefits to British exporters the forthcoming European Union-Singapore fair trade agreement will bring.

Photo of Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Following the recent conclusion of negotiations, work is ongoing to assess the outcome. However, we do not yet have a full picture of what has been agreed (since the negotiations are conducted by the Commission on behalf of the member states) and the full benefits to UK business will only become clear when we see the full deal. What we do know is that there will be new opportunities for British businesses to bid for public procurement contracts in Singapore. The FTA grants EU bidders significantly more guaranteed opportunities in public tenders compared to any other country, including for the first time in many utilities sectors in which the EU has many leading suppliers.

We also expect to see new opportunities in the services sector, where we expect Singapore to extend its market access commitments, to agree new regulatory disciplines in certain service sectors and to offer parity with other major trading partners in most service sectors, thus offering a more level playing field for UK suppliers.

Additionally, Singapore has agreed to tackle technical barriers in key sectors such as cars, pharmaceuticals, electronics and renewable energy equipment. These rules will make it easier for goods produced and tested to European standards to be sold in Singapore without technical changes or additional testing.

The FTA also includes a high level of intellectual property rights protection. This will, for example, offer better remuneration rights for certain creative activities.

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