India and Singapore are reviewing their free trade agreement. The aim is to promote commercial ties between the countries. The countries had recently signed the second protocol to amend the pact, officially dubbed as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). This agreement, which has liberalised rules for trade in goods and services, came into force in August 2005 and the first review was concluded in October 2007 and the second one in June this year.
In an FTA review, two trading partners look to further relax rules to increase trade. Both India and Singapore are part of the proposed mega trade deal RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). This is a 16-nation grouping. The group is negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement since November 2012. RCEP comprises 10 Asean members as well as Japan, Korea, China, India, Australia and New Zealand.
The Asia Pacific is being rated as the most dynamic growth region of the world. Over 8,000 Indian companies are based in Singapore with many having set up regional headquarters with operations across the region. Singapore is a natural springboard for Indian businesses to leap into the Asean and the broader East Asian regions. These professionals are deeply familiar and connected with India. They can act as a great bridge between the two countries.