Singapore is a very important destination of the European Union (EU) trade activity. It is its fifth largest trading partner in Asia and the biggest among the member states of ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations).1 The importance of bilateral relations between Singapore and the European Community is attested not only by statistics showing the scale of trade, but also the desire of both parties to establish an even closer economic cooperation. This positive trend in mutual relations opens new possibilities for Singapore importers, also in the meat sector.
According to the figures released by the European Commission, the value of trade between the European Union and Singapore in 2014 reached 45.2 million, a 17 per cent increase on the year 2008.2 The signing by the EU and Singapore of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUFSTA) means that this index may increase even further. The conclusion in May 2015 of the negotiations regarding direct foreign investments regulations and the signing two years earlier of an agreement on the bilateral trade in goods and services has turned the document into a comprehensive agreement. However, before it comes into force it must undergo a complex process of ratification by both parties which may last even until the middle 2016.
EUFSTA eliminates customs duties and non-tariff barriers in mutual relations and liberalises the movement of goods, services and investment. The new agreement also replaces 12 bilateral agreements signed 40 years ago with individual Member States of the Community, significantly systematising trade regulations and consequently facilitating access of Singaporean importers to the EU market. According to the forecasts of the European Commission, thanks to the agreement, imports from the EU to Singapore will increase by EUR 1.4 billion over the next ten years.3 It is also significant that the creation of the Free Trade Area between the European Union and Singapore is the first agreement of this type concluded with a country belonging to ASEAN. This is a very important step in the process of economic integration of the Community with other members of this organisation.
The new trade agreement with the European Union and the high level of openness of the Singapore market offer optimistic prospects also for Singaporean importers of European beef, pork and their products. The guarantee of safety, high, repeated quality and unique flavour of European beef, pork and derivate products and rich meat production traditions in the Old Continent are highly valued by consumers all over the world. According to Eurostat, the EU is currently the world’s largest exporter of pork and is among the top beef exporters.4 The coming into force of EUFSTA will make European beef, pork and its products more accessible also to the current and potential importers in Singapore.
Noticing the possibilities offered by the new chapter in its economic relations with Singapore, the European Union is conducting multiple actions aimed at increasing exports of European products, including meat. One of such activities is the two-year campaign entitled “The Taste of Quality and Tradition Directly from Europe” pertaining to European chilled or frozen beef, pork and products made on their basis addressed to the current and potential importers, members of sector organisations connected with food imports, representatives of the HoReCa industry and representatives of the media and institutions connected with the meat sector. The campaign is conducted by a consortium of the Meat Industry Producers and Employers Union (UPEMI) and the Polish Association of Beef Cattle Producers (PZPBM).
Over the next two years Singaporeans will have many opportunities to learn about the centuries-long traditions of meat production and experience the unique characteristics of European beef, pork and their products. Publications regarding European beef, pork and their products will appear in the local media on a regular basis. Specialist information is published on the campaign’s website at www.meatfromeurope.eu. Moreover, the campaign’s organisers already invited visitors to the Food&Hotel Asia Fairs scheduled for 12 to 15 April 2016.
The activities conducted as part of “The Taste of Quality and Tradition Directly from Europe” campaign combined with very good economic relations and exceptional qualities of European meat stand as a considerable chance leading to an increase of meat imports from the European Union. Beef, pork and their products currently available in the Singaporean market come almost entirely from other countries. “The Taste of Quality and Tradition Directly from Europe” campaign is therefore an excellent opportunity to increase the interest of Singapore importers in European meat.