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India and Singapore: A Flourishing Partnership for Economic Growth

India and Singapore: A Flourishing Partnership for Economic Growth

By Devanshee Dave

In the inauguration ceremony of the four-day (7th to 10th September 2017) Singapore International Indian Expo, Ganesh Kumar, the chief of Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO), announced that Indian trade with Singapore is expected to reach USD 15 billion by 2019-20 from the current USD 17 billion. He further added that FIEO would increase its participation through small and medium scale manufacturers and retailers.

Insight into the India-Singapore Trade

In 2016, total Indian exports grew only by 4 percent but Indian exports to Singapore witnessed a significant hike of 23 percent. It is notable that Indian trade with Singapore accounted for only 2.52 percent of the total Indian trade. India has a long and steady trade partnership with Singapore. The first trade pact between India and Singapore was the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CEPA), established in 2005. The pact is special since it is India’s first comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) involving trade in goods, services, and investment.

As per a report published by, Singapore Trade figures show that India holds the 12th position in 2015 for exporting goods to Singapore, rising from rank 15 in 2004. India’s import rank has also improved from 10th position in 2004 to 13th position in 2015.  The partnership continues as India actively follows Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), of which Singapore is also a part.

India and Singapore’s bilateral trade includes agricultural products, minerals and chemicals, textile and apparel, machinery, tools, and articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, and mica. Singapore has duty free imports for most products with duty levied only on liquor products such as stout, porter or other beers. However, even Indian liquor products enjoy a zero percent preferential tariff. It is important that 3 percent of the total Indian exports go to Singapore. They account for 2.64 percent of Singapore’s total imports.

The Singapore International Indian Expo

The expo was attended by Indian High Commissioner Jawed Ashraf and Singapore’s Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, along with the chief of FIEO, Ganesh Gupta.  

Ganesh Gupta said that the expo provides a wonderful opportunity for micro and small exporters to create a high demand in Singapore. Also, it will help exports to move from the B2C(business-to-consumer) to B2B(business-to-business) platform. This year, the FIEO is participating in the expo along with 89 companies to showcase apparel, gems and jewellery, handicraft, and furniture. It also aims to double the participation in 2018. More than 10,000 Indian products have been showcased in this year’s expo in around 200 stalls.

What’s so special about India and Singapore?

As per an article in Business Line, since India and Singapore completed the golden jubilee of diplomatic ties in 2015, Singapore has become India’s “best friend” in the South East Asian region.  For the Indian-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, Singapore is a like a bridge across the ocean that brings Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India closer. In Narendra Modi’s “Act East Policy”—a policy that aims to focus on cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationships with neighbouring countries—Singapore plays an integral role. Singapore’s liberal legal requirements for starting businesses are also encouraging for entrepreneurs.

As a per a report published on, there is one more special component of the India-Singapore trade. Along with the exports from Singapore, the trade also includes re-exports from Singapore. In re-exports, goods are not manufactured in a country but come from a third country instead. On the other side, India is a lucrative opportunity due to “Make in India” initiative, which simplifies the process and encourages FDI in many sectors. India wishes to be a manufacturing hub and that offers good prospects for Singapore in India.

Featured Image Source: Visual Hunt

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