On 30 December (Monday), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) announced that the upgraded Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (ANZSCEP) has been ratified by both countries.
The ministry noted that the upgraded agreement will come into effect on 1 January 2020, and it include trade rules, flexible rules to fasten shipment as well as adding e-commerce and regulatory cooperation.
MTI stated that the upgraded ANZCEP has improved trade rules and provisions that are in accordance with newer Free Trade Agreement (FTAs), where Singapore and New Zealand are parties.
“It incorporates some of the most flexible and trade facilitative rules of origin among Singapore’s FTAs and the shortest release times for good and expedited shipment,” the ministry explained.
It continued that the upgraded agreement also addresses modern trade issues and includes two new chapters on E-Commerce and Regulatory Cooperation.
Speaking of the ratification, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said, “The swift ratification and entry-into-fore of the upgraded ANZSCEP signals Singapore and New Zealand’s commitment to upholding an open and rules-based trading system.”
He added, “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”.
The ANZSCEP first came into effect on 1 January 2001, and it is Singapore’s first and New Zealand’s second bilateral FTA.
For those who are unaware, negotiations for the upgraded ANZSCEP first started in June 2017 under the trade and economic pillar of the Singapore-New Zealand Enhanced Partnership.
The upgraded ANZSCEP was signed on 17 May this year when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made her first official visit to Singapore.
Both Singapore and New Zealand were part of the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), which led to the formation of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership following US President Donald Trump’s exit from TPP.
Apart from that, both the countries are also part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which is currently under negotiation.
After ANZSCEP came into force in 2001, all tariffs for Singapore’s export to New Zealand were removed. It also offered tariff preference according to the exporter’s declaration, safeguard for market access as well as protect Singapore investors and investments in New Zealand. The FTA also made sure a more foreseeable operating environment for service suppliers.
MTI said that Singapore and New Zealand have strong trade and investment ties. The bilateral trade registered a 12.1% year-on-year increase to S$41 billion in 2018. Based on figures from New Zealand’s official data agency Stats NZ, it was revealed that Singapore was New Zealand’s sixth largest investor with roughly S$3.9 billion worth of investment as of end-2017.
Apart from strong economic ties, Singapore and New Zealand also work closely on defence via platforms like the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus and the Five Power Defence Arrangements.
Additionally, since 1997, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has held artillery training at the Waiouru Training Area in New Zealand.