An elegant Gala Dinner event organised on Friday, Nov 8th by the EU Delegation to Singapore drew a full house of 250 invited guests.
The occasion: the announcement of the date of entry into force of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA).
The first such agreement between the EU and an ASEAN country, the EUSFTA - which has been widely hailed as a pathfinder deal - enters into force on Thursday, Nov 21st.
The event saw the participation of EU's Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development and Commissioner-designate for Trade Phil Hogan and Singapore's Minister of Trade Relations Mr S.Iswaran as guests of honour. Both delivered keynote speeches and participated in a fire-side chat to mark this historic moment.
Minister Iswaran lauded "the ambitious agreement," as an "important milestone in the long-standing robust relationship between the EU and Singapore." He added the contents of the agreement allow for significant opportunities to flow in both directions and offers "a spark of optimism for free trade," setting the EU-Singapore partnership on "an even stronger trajectory for the future."
In his keynote address, Commissioner Hogan highlighted Singapore's "very important strategic position within ASEAN," and the "central role" it plays in fostering economic integration within the region.
He added the EUSFTA will "enhance our bilateral relationship," and "make the business environment more predictable."
The EU is the largest investor in Singapore with more than 10,000 companies present here. The very positive bilateral relationship has helped EU-SG trade in goods and services hit new highs in recent years, exceeding the 100 billion euros benchmark.
The event was widely reported by both Singapore and international media. Commissioner Hogan also did two exclusive media interviews – one with Singapore's leading newspaper The Straits Times and the second with leading television network Channel NewsAsia.
The Straits Times reports: