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India, Singapore review CECA, to reduce tariffs on 30 more products


Singapore, India and Singapore on Friday agreed to reduce or remove tariffs on another 30 products, improve rules of origin and facilitate mutual recognition of nursing standards after concluding the second review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between the two countries. The review took place in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.  "I would like to thank PM Modi for his very strong support, and his personal attention and interest in this project. It shows that our economic ties are substantial and we want to do more together," said Lee. Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran said, “The upgraded agreement will enable more Singapore companies to qualify for lower tariffs. This improves local exporters’ access to the Indian market. I encourage our companies to make full use of the upgraded agreement and explore more opportunities for collaboration in India.” The MTI in a statement said the enhancements to CECA will strengthen bilateral ties between Singapore and India through greater trade facilitation, allowing Singapore and Indian businesses increased access to each other’s markets. "The enhancements include expanded tariff concessions for an additional 30 products and improved rules of origin to provide more flexibility for Singapore exports into India to qualify for preferential tariffs under the agreement." Trade between Singapore and India jumped 14.6 per cent last year to $25.2 billion from S$16.6 billion in 2005. Following the review, tariffs on 30 products will be reduced or eliminated to the level under the free trade agreement between India and the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean). The new preferential tariffs apply to a variety of sectors, including food. Rules of origin will become more flexible, allowing certain goods to qualify as Singapore-originating even when a limited amount of inputs used in production do not meet the change in tariff classification requirement. New product specific rules, which are typically easier to meet than the general rule of origin, have also been created for goods such as machinery parts and edible oils. These will make it easier for Singapore exports into India to qualify for preferential tariffs, said the MTI. Both countries have agreed on a mutual recognition agreement on nursing as well to facilitate better understanding of their standards in regulating the training and practice of nursing. Loh Khum Yean, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Singapore, and Jawed Ashraf, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore, exchanged the Joint Statement on the conclusion of the CECA second review. The Joint Statement was earlier signed by Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia and Loh.The first review of CECA was concluded in 2007.

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