FRIENDS OF SINGAPORE GROUP IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
FRIENDS OF SINGAPORE GROUP IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LAUNCHED BY FOREIGN MINISTER BALAKRISHNAN AND DELEGATION LED BY SORIN MOISA MEP
30 MARCH TO 1 APRIL 2016
Members of the European Parliament from the Friends of Singapore Group (FoS), chaired by Sorin Moisă MEP (S&D, RO), visited Singapore between 30 March and 1 April. The highlight of the visit was the formal launch of the Group in a ceremony at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs officiated by the Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan.
The E.P. Delegation was formed, in addition to MEP Moisa, by Antonio Lopez-Istúriz White (EPP, ES), Emma McClarkin (UK, ECR trade coordinator), Inmaculada Rodriguez-Pinero Fernandez (S&D, ES) and Marlene Mizzi (S&D, MT). The Friends of Singapore Group includes 22 MEPs from the main political families in Europe and 12 EU Member States.
The launch event was also attended by fifteen Members of Parliament from the Singapore-Europe Regional Parliamentary Group, the EU Ambassador to Singapore H.E. Michael Pulch, Ambassadors from EU Member States and senior officials from Singapore. In his address, Minister Balakrishnan offered Singapore’s condolences and support over the terrorist attacks in Brussels, emphasised how ‘longstanding, multifaceted and healthy’ are Singapore’s connections with Europe, and asked for further strengthening our already powerful trade and economic relationship. In his address, MEP Moisa also stressed the strong European imprint in the ‘Singapore story’, one of truly amazing transformation, commended Singapore for its capacity to constantly innovate and reinvent itself, stressed its vital importance for Europe in Southeast Asia, and offered the support of the FoS Group for the speedy ratification of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
The E.P. delegation also had bilateral meetings with Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, and Mr Charles Chong Deputy Speaker of Parliament. They also participated in a working lunch offered by Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport. The MEPs also met with the EU business community active in Singapore, participated in a roundtable discussion with civil society organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, and in a debate with relevant think tanks on trade and economic developments in South-East Asia hosted by EU Ambassador Dr. Michael Pulch. The MEPs were invited to attend a ‘Meet the People’ session with MP Ms Foo Mee Har in order to experience the manner in which Singaporean MPs keep in touch with their constituents.
Common threads of all discussions were to reaffirm the excellent relations between the European Union and Singapore, and stock-taking of political and economic developments in the EU, Singapore, as well as in each respective region. Special emphasis was given to the best ways and means to promote the expeditious ratification of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA). MEP Moisa, who is also a member of the EP’s International Trade Committee, reflected on how we can achieve this while remaining mindful of the interests and expectations of both of our societies and democratic institutions. The discussions benefited fully from the diversity of political and policy expertise of all FoS members present.
The FoS delegation expressed their wish to help strengthen the political, economic and people-to-people ties between Singapore and the EU. There is a strong belief within the delegation that there is potential for even more growth, and that the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement needs to be ratified as quickly as possible.
Background on EU-Singapore trade relations
Singapore is the fourth largest economy within ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), but is by far the EU’s largest trade and investment partner in Southeast Asia, accounting for a third of total EU-ASEAN trade in goods and services and for two thirds of the EU investment stock in ASEAN. Over 11.000 EU companies have set up their regional headquarters in Singapore.
Bilateral trade in goods between the EU and Singapore was over €48.6 bn in 2015, with an over €10 billion surplus for the EU. Singapore is a service-oriented economy: value added of the services sector is 75% GDP. Bilateral trade in services between the EU and Singapore amounted to over €36 bn in 2014, representing over a half of the EU’s trade in services with ASEAN.
In terms of investment flows, in 2014 the EU was the largest contributor of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Singapore, accounting for €103 billion and over a fourth of the total stock of FDI in Singapore. At the same time, Singapore is the third largest Asian investor in the EU, with roughly €43.8 billion in FDI stock.
Publicat de Sorin Moisă
Subiect: Friends of Singapore