The 5th Singapore-Turkey Business Forum held was organised by the Singapore Business Federation and the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board, in conjunction with the visit of His Excellency Binali Yildirim, Prime Minister of the of the Republic of Turkey.
The Forum was held just after it was announced by Prime Ministers Lee Hsien Loong and Binali Yildirim that the Turkey-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (TRSFTA) had been ratified by both countries.
To come into force on 1 October 2017, the TRSFTA is Turkey’s first comprehensive free trade agreement in a single undertaking.
Its benefits include:
- Tariff Elimination: Turkey will eliminate tariffs for Singapore’s exports on more than 95 per cent of all its tariff lines. Singapore in turn will grant immediate duty-free access for all imports from Turkey upon the entry into force of the Turkey-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
- Fewer non-tariff barriers: Turkey and Singapore will reduce non-tariff barriers that impede trade. Both countries will also adopt international standards and practices, where applicable.
- Access to government procurement contracts: Singapore companies will be able to bid for procurement contracts from Turkish government entities, such as Turkey’s central government and all 30 of Turkey’s metropolitan municipalities. Turkish companies will likewise benefit from access to Singapore’s government procurement market.
- Access to the services sectors: Singapore and Turkey will commit to granting better access to each other’s services markets, including areas such as retail services, business services, and construction services.
At the Forum, Minister Iswaran encouraged Singapore and Turkish companies to collaborate further. He said, “Turkey is a country with a population of 80.3 million and a GDP of USD 857.7 billion in 2016. Singapore companies could consider using Turkey as a base to expand into Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey provides access to Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Together, these markets have a combined GDP of USD 24 trillion, and a population of 1.6 billion.
Singapore on the other hand is situated at the heart of Asia, and is well-connected to China, India, as well as our immediate neighbours in Southeast Asia. This, together with our position as a leading global trading and financial centre, makes Singapore an ideal place for Turkish companies to base themselves to explore opportunities in Asia.”
Prime Minister Yildirim and Turkey’s Minister of Economy His Excellency Nihat Zeybekci echoed Minister Iswaran’s call for closer collaboration between the Turkish and Singapore business communities with the TRSFTA’s ratification. They view the TRSFTA as an avenue for access for third country partnerships into ASEAN. With the TRSFTA ratified, Minister Zeybekci shared his hopes for new beginnings between Turkey and Singapore and a new and ambitious foreign investment regime, in which programmes will be customised for Singapore investors.
Organised under the auspices of the Turkey-Singapore Business Council, the Turkey-Singapore Business Forum continues to bridge the Turkish and Singapore business communities, offering a platform for dialogue, networking and exploring business opportunities and partnerships. Over the years, the Forum has hosted Singapore and Turkish officials in Singapore on many occasions. In 2012, the Forum featured a dialogue between then-Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. In 2014, then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a lecture at the Forum.
To read Minister Iswaran’s full speech – click here