A container is loaded onto the Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) Pilar cargo ship at the APM Terminals yard in the Port of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama, U.S. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

India, Singapore Ink Protocol To Boost Bilateral Trade

India and Singapore signed a second protocol amending the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), which will boost bilateral trade, with both sides agreeing to expand the coverage of tariff concessions.

The provisions of the Second Protocol will come into effect from September 14, 2018.

"The two countries are exploring the possibility of launching the 3rd Review of India-Singapore CECA in September 2018," an official statement said here.

The conclusion of the Second Review of CECA was announced during the state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Singapore on June 1, 2018.

Singapore is the second largest trading partner of India within ASEAN, while India is the largest trading partner of Singapore in South Asia, with a bilateral trade of $17.7 billion in 2017-18.

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Singapore's trade with India constitutes about 21.8 percent of India's total trade with ASEAN and 2.3 per cent of its global trade.

India had a trade surplus of $2.73 billion with Singapore in 2017-18.

Signing of the Second Protocol formally brings to closure the negotiations on second review of CECA, which began on May 11, 2010. India and Singapore have successfully reached mutual understanding and agreement in closing the second review.

"Both sides agreed to expand the coverage of tariff concessions, liberalize the Rules of Origin, rationalize Product Specific Rules and include provisions on Certificate of Origin and Cooperation on its verification.

"These measures will further facilitate trade between India and Singapore and also improve utilization of CECA," the statement issued by the Commerce Ministry said.

The protocol was signed by Deputy Chief Negotiators, Rajneesh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and Francis Chong, Senior Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Government of Singapore.

The CECA was the first comprehensive agreement covering trade in goods, services and investments, which India had signed with any of its trading partners. The CECA was signed on June 29, 2005 and its first review was concluded on October 1, 2007.