MercoPress | 13 February 2023
Mercosur-Singapore free trade agreement coming up?
Under Argentina’s pro-tempore presidency, Mercosur will try to clinch a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore, according to Palacio San Martín (Foreign Ministry) sources quoted by BAE Negocios. The Alberto Fernández administration is particularly eager to show results, the report also said.
With Southeast Asia in sight, Indonesia is another potential partner. ”Next week there is a meeting of (Mercosur) coordinators and the agenda will be outlined. With Indonesia, the idea is to make a first-round this semester and with Singapore, to be able to close and sign,“ diplomatic sources told BAE Negocios.
”Singapore could act as a gateway for Argentine products to the Asia-Pacific region, taking advantage of the wide network of agreements that this country has in the region“ and thus boost Mercosur’s exports, the report also said.
”This agreement is important in terms of encouraging and facilitating possible investments since Singapore is a very open country in terms of trade (and an important foreign investor). Our export pattern is similar to that of other Asian countries and is centered on agricultural and agro-industrial products,“ the sources went on.
”One of the axes of discussion is the Regime of Origin since Singapore is an island with scarce resources but it is the most important hub in the Pacific. It may be good for selling our products, but we have to prevent third-party products from being triangulated,” the sources also explained.
Mercosur exported US$ 5.929 billion to Singapore in 2021 and there were imports worth US$ 1.258 billion.
Under the strategy of opening other world markets, the Argentine Government -with or without Mercosur- is to advance negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) which accounts for 10% of the Asia Pacific GDP. Asean was founded in 1967. It is made up of Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.
Mercosur will also have meetings with Indonesia, with whom exploratory talks have been held in recent years, the report pointed out.
(Source: BAE Negocios)