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Upgraded Singapore-NZ trade agreement enters into force on Jan 1

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"The swift ratification and entry-into-force of the upgraded ANZSCEP signals Singapore and New Zealand's commitment to upholding an open and rules-based trading system," Mr Chan says.

Singapore

THE upgraded Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (ANZSCEP) has been ratified by the two nations and will enter into force on Jan 1, 2020.

The upgraded pact adds e-commerce and regulatory cooperation chapters to the ANZSCEP that came into effect on Jan 1, 2001, the Ministry for Trade and Industry said on Monday.

The agreement addresses modern trade issues and improves trade rules and provisions that are in line with newer free trade agreements (FTAs) to which Singapore and New Zealand are parties to.

Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said: "The swift ratification and entry-into-force of the upgraded ANZSCEP signals Singapore and New Zealand's commitment to upholding an open and rules-based trading system."

Negotiations for the upgraded ANZSCEP were launched in June 2017 under the trade and economic pillar of the Singapore-New Zealand Enhanced Partnership.

The upgraded ANZSCEP was signed on May 17, 2019 during New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's first official visit to Singapore.

It incorporates some of the most flexible and trade-facilitative rules of origin among Singapore's FTAs and the shortest release times for goods and expedited shipments.

"This modernised agreement will further reduce barriers to trade and enhance regulatory cooperation and e-commerce efforts, benefiting businesses from both our countries. I look forward to the deepening of economic relations between our countries," Mr Chan said.

Singapore and New Zealand were part of the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which gave way to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the TPP.

They are also part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which is under negotiation.

All tariffs for Singapore's exports to New Zealand were eliminated when ANZSCEP came into force almost two decades ago.

It also provided for tariff preference based on the exporter's declaration, safeguards for market access and protection for Singapore investors and investments in New Zealand. The FTA ensured a more predictable operating environment for service suppliers.

Singapore and New Zealand share strong trade and investment ties, the MTI statement said.

In 2018, bilateral trade registered a 12.1 per cent year-on-year increase to S$4.1 billion. Singapore was New Zealand's sixth largest investor with approximately S$3.9 billion worth of investments as at end-2017, figures from New Zealand's official data agency Stats NZ showed.

In 2015, then-president Tony Tan Keng Yam made a state visit to New Zealand to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties. New Zealand was among the first countries to recognise Singapore's independence.

Besides their strong economic ties, Singapore and New Zealand also cooperate closely on defence through platforms such as the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus and the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

Since 1997, the Singapore Armed Forces has been conducting artillery training at the Waiouru Training Area in New Zealand. THE STRAITS TIMES