The European Parliament has given its consent to the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement ("EUSFTA") and EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement ("EUSIPA") on 13 February 2019. The EUSFTA and EUSIPA are the first trade and investment agreements concluded between the EU and an ASEAN member state. Both the EU and Singapore will undertake their respective internal administrative processes to enable the EUSFTA to enter into force as soon as possible. Singapore has already begun implementing some changes through the Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Act 2018 ("IPBE") to fulfil its obligations under the EUSFTA. Our client alert on the IPBE can be found here.
When the EUSFTA enters into force, EU and Singapore companies will benefit from greater market access across many sectors, increased government procurement opportunities and the progressive elimination of tariffs on exports into Singapore and the EU, amongst others. In particular, the EUSFTA includes a comprehensive intellectual property rights chapter covering provisions on copyright, designs, enforcement and geographical indications (GIs). Following the European Parliament's consent for the EUSFTA, Singapore will enhance its existing GI regime by setting up a GI Registry to receive applications for GI registration. Once registered in Singapore, GIs will have enhanced protection and consumers will be able to better recognise authentic quality products.