The UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signing, the UK’s first in Southeast Asia, also reflects the importance of the trade and investment corridor for both Singapore and UK. Total trade between the UK and Singapore was SGD30billion last year1. In 2019, more than 10,000 UK businesses exported goods to Singapore2 and nearly 5000 British businesses are already present in Singapore3 engaging in wide-ranging industries or as a regional Head Quarters for their operations across Asia.
The FTA provides a continuation of several benefits that are available through the existing EU-Singapore FTA including maintaining services liberalisation, removal of non-tariff barriers like standards harmonisation and simplified customs procedures, particularly for SMEs.
Tony Cripps, HSBC Singapore CEO said: “The FTA will give confidence to what has been a vibrant and successful trade and investment corridor for HSBC’s customers. Moreover, we believe this FTA will spur commercial activity across several major sectors including digital, advisory services, sustainable infrastructure development, and will enable UK firms to tap Southeast Asia’s rich and diverse supply chain networks.“
Whilst already a strategic priority market for HSBC, the FTA will further enable HSBC to invest in its people, presence and product capability to further elevate Singapore as a regional hub for its wholesale and wealth customers across South Asia. As a British domiciled bank, the FTA enables HSBC to be granted additional customer service locations within the City State which can be used to open up new branches or ATMs.
Mark Tucker, Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc said: “This agreement is good news for business, providing short-term certainty for cross-border trade, and a longer-term foundation for even closer economic cooperation between the UK and Singapore. Singapore is a dynamic economy and a global financial centre of excellence. We look forward to the opportunities this FTA provides to deepen our historic, 143-year, commitment to Singapore, and to develop even stronger relationships with our customers across the Asia-Pacific region.”
HSBC Group’s history in Singapore dates back to 1877 when its founding member, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, opened its first branch on the island. A qualifying full bank, HSBC in Singapore offers a comprehensive range of banking and financial services including retail banking and wealth management; commercial, investment and private banking; insurance; forfaiting and trustee services; securities and capital markets services. One of the earliest banks to establish in Singapore, HSBC today is a prominent player in Singapore's financial services sector serving the banking needs of multi-national corporations, home-grown businesses, private banking clients, institutional and retail customers. In May 2016, HSBC locally incorporated its retail banking and wealth management business in Singapore and established, HSBC Bank (Singapore) Limited. HSBC Singapore has a retail network of 13 branches (comprising 10 dedicated HSBC Premier Centres, 2 HSBC Jade Centres and a Premier International Centre) and many locations across the island providing self-service terminals.
1Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore
2HMRC UK trade in goods by business characteristics, 2019