Delhi: India and Singapore have taken a major step forward in cementing
their bilateral ties by signing a ''comprehensive economic cooperation agreement''
(CECA). Singapore has also conveyed its support for India''s candidature as
a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
CECA was signed by prime ministers Manmohan Singh and Lee Hsien Loong, who
is visiting India. The 739-page agreement is an integrated package liberalising
trade in goods and services and seeks to substantially bolster trade and investment.
agreement has pacts for cooperation in customs, science and technology, education,
e-commerce, intellectual property and media. The two sides have also signed
a ''bilateral investment protection agreement'', a double taxation avoidance
agreement, with additional safeguards to avoid misuse.
to the pact, India will allow three major Singapore banks to set up wholly-owned
subsidiaries in the country. The three banks - DBS holdings, Overseas Chinese
Banking Corporation and United Overseas Bank - will be treated at par with
Indian banks for opening branches.
banks already operating in Singapore will get full banking status which means
they will be allowed electronic fund transfer, clearance and use of local
signing of the CECA paves the way for the two countries to enhance their two-way
trade to over $10 billion by the end of 2005-06 and to $50 billion by 2010
up from below . $8 billion at present says The Associated Chambers
of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) in a report, India-Singapore
Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement: A Pathfinder for the India-Asean
Releasing the report Mahendra K. Sanghi, president, Assocham, said Singapore''s
cumulative investment in India of around $3 billion, would go up to $5 billion
by 2010 and to $10 billion by 2015. The thrust areas of Singapore''s investment
in India would be airports, ports and urban infrastructure he added.
to the study, CECA will help Indian businesses leverage Singapore''s strengths
in finance, manufacturing and marketing and achieve greater competitiveness
in IT through closer ties with its advanced electronic industry.
than 300 Indian IT companies have already set up software development operations
in Singapore and there are about 1,500 Indian companies which have bases in
Singapore; every year around 150 new companies set up their operations,''''
a trading partner of India, Singapore accounted for, on an average, 3.0 per
cent of India''s total exports and 2.6 per cent of India''s total imports during
the five-year period from 2000-01 to 2004-05.
India accounted for, on an average, 2.2 per cent and 0.9 per cent of Singapore''s
total exports and total imports, respectively, from 1999 to 2003.