An upgraded Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (ANZSCEP) entered into force on 1 January 2020. The ANZSCEP, which entered into force on 1 January 2001, is Singapore’s first and New Zealand’s second bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Negotiations for the upgraded ANZSCEP were launched in June 2017 under the trade and economic pillar of the Singapore-New Zealand Enhanced Partnership, and the upgraded ANZSCEP was signed on 17 May 2019.
The upgraded ANZSCEP has improved trade rules and provisions that are in line with newer FTAs to which Singapore and New Zealand are parties. A new chapter on e-commerce has been added to the ANZSCEP and contains a range of provisions including those related to data. Companies will be able to access data freely and will not be required to locate computing facilities in a market as a pre-requisite to doing business there. In addition, forward-looking provisions on cooperation in Logistics and E-Invoicing were also included in the chapter. Another addition is a chapter on regulatory cooperation which creates a mechanism for both parties to raise and resolve issues that companies face in the course of trade with New Zealand.
The Trade in Goods Chapter incorporates modern provisions that address both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. For instance, it includes provisions which ensure non-discriminatory treatment of remanufactured goods, and goods which have undergone repair and alteration. Non-tariff measures such as administrative fees and formalities, and import licensing have also been enhanced.
The upgraded ANZSCEP Rules of Origin (ROO) incorporate some of the most flexible and trade facilitative ROO ever agreed to in Singapore’s FTAs. The ROO takes into account modern business production patterns, and helps companies qualify more easily for preferential tariff treatment in sectors such as electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and processed food.
The Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Chapter incorporates comprehensive disciplines from recent FTAs, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which ensures that Singapore’s food imports are held to stringent and robust food safety requirements while reducing trade barriers that could impede Singapore’s food exports.
A Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on Conformity Assessment provides a framework for negotiation of MRAs on a variety of sectors going forward. As a start, Singapore and New Zealand have agreed to a MRA on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) inspection of manufacturers of medicinal products. The two countries have also concluded a side letter on mutual recognition of professional qualifications, with a focus on accounting.
(Source: Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore)