Connect with us

Asia Pacific

Singapore, India signed CECA: A More Liberal Agreement Than Chinese CSFTA



India and Singapore signed CECA – India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement in 2005. This free trade agreement (CECA) not only enables Singapore and India to trade goods freely, it also allows professionals to work in each other country more easily.

The CECA was concluded after 13 rounds of negotiation and the Singapore’s side was led by none other than Heng Swee Keat, the current PM-in-waiting, who was then Permanent Secretary for Trade and Industry. Heng and his team essentially did the ground work together with their Indian counterparts. They then presented their proposals to the politicians for approval.

China signed CSFTA with Singapore, however CECA seems to be a more liberal and open-handed agreement according to experts. In 2009, the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) came into force. This is China’s first comprehensive bilateral FTA with an Asian country.

China is Singapore’s largest trading partner while Singapore is China’s largest foreign investor since 2013. In 2017, Singapore’s cumulative investment in China amounted to S$140 billion while China’s cumulative investment in Singapore amounted to S$36.3 billion.

Under the agreement, both countries are allowed to facilitate the free “movement of natural persons” to each other country. It facilitates temporary entry of natural persons for the purpose of trade while recognising the need to ensure border security and to protect the domestic labour force in the territories of both parties.

In essence, the agreement facilitates the movement of the following people like business visitors; Contractual services suppliers and Intra-corporate transferees.

Under the agreement, Singapore will allow a Chinese business visitor to stay for a period of up to 60 days with extension for further 30 days. This is for Chinese holders of 5-year multiple journey visa. For holders of all other visas, Singapore will grant the right to temporary entry for a period of up to 30 days, which may be extended for a further 30 days.

In contrast, Singapore is more generous to India when comes to CECA. Under CECA, Indian business visitors with a 5-year multiple journey visa are granted temporary entry for a period of up to two months with further extension for another. Those with less than 5-year multiple journey visa are granted temporary entry for a period of up to one month.

For contractual services suppliers and intra-corporate transferees, the terms are similar to that of CSFTA. The only difference is that for CECA’s intra-corporate transferees, they must have been employed by the company for not less than 6 months before he or she can be qualified for the transfer to the host country.

In the CSFTA agreement, In the case of contractual services suppliers, the person must have been a PMET(Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians)  employee of the service supplier for at least 1 year preceding the date of their application for admission. Entry is limited to 90 days with possibility for a further extension of up to 90 days, provided the total does not exceed 180 days or the length of the service contract, whichever is shorter.

That is, the maximum stay allowed in Singapore is 6 months for Chinese PMET on contract to provide a service in Singapore by his or her service supplier in China.

For intra-corporate transferees, the person must have been in the prior employ of their firms outside Singapore for a minimum of 1 year preceding the date of their application for admission. Their stay is limited to 2 years but can be extended for periods of up to 3 additional years each time, for a total term of not more than 8 years.

The professional is essentially contracted to work in the host country for up to 1 year. Since nothing is said in the agreement denying the professional’s renewal of his or her contract, it is presumed that he or she can continue to work in the host country to “finish up” the contracted work as long as the contract is continually renewed by the the business party who is actively engaging the professional in the host country.

CECA also specified 127 different occupations that the professional can engage in the host country as long as they have equivalent degrees conferred by institutions in India and Singapore. And under CECA, intra-corporate transferees as well as “long-term temporary entry” professionals are allowed to bring in their spouses or dependants into the host country. They are allowed to “work as managers, executives or specialists, subject to the relevant licensing, administrative and registration requirements”.

“Such spouses or dependents can apply independently in their own capacity (and not necessarily as accompanying spouses or dependents) and shall not be barred by the Party granting them the right to work from taking up employment in a category other than that of managers, executives, or specialists solely on the ground that they as the accompanying spouses or dependents are already employed in its territory as managers, executives or specialists,” CECA stated. In other words, the spouses or dependents can work in non-PMET jobs in the host country.

Clauses relating to the employment of “long-term temporary entry” professionals as well as employment of spouses or dependents are not found in the same chapter (“movement of natural persons”) in CSFTA. Only CECA has them.

We can owe the generosity to the strong and friendly bilateral relations with both the countries enjoying extensive cultural and commercial. Singapore and India have a common goal that is  increase trade, investments and economic cooperation, and expanded bilateral cooperation on maritime security, training forces, joint naval exercises, developing military technology and fighting terrorism through CECA.

More than 300,000 people of Indian origin live in Singapore. Following its independence in 1965, Singapore was concerned with China-backed communist threats as well as domination from Malaysia and Indonesia and sought a close strategic relationship with India, which it saw as a counterbalance to Chinese influence and a partner in achieving regional security. Singapore had always been an important strategic trading post, giving India trade access to the Far East.




rafale-jets rafale-jets
Asia Pacific2 hours ago

Rafale Jets: After India, Another Asian Country To Acquire Dassault Rafale Fighters – French Minister

French Defense Minister Florence Parly has confirmed that Indonesia is indeed interested in purchasing Rafale fighter jets from her country...

india-russia india-russia
EurAsian Region7 hours ago

Indian Naval Base In Africa Next To China’s Djibouti Could Be Possible With Russian Partnership?

Russia has recently announced that it has entered a pact with Sudan to create a naval base. Moscow, which had...

Asia Pacific7 hours ago

India’s Third Aircraft Carrier – How Navy Day Exposed The Schism Between Chiefs Of Navy & Defense Staff

Prakash Nanda

Featured9 hours ago

Indian Air Force Shows Its Prowess With ‘Swarm Drone Technology’; Tweets Images: Watch

In a recent tweet, the Indian Air Force has released images of its own swarm drone tests after news came...

Asia Pacific11 hours ago

China Threatens India With A Weather Modification System That Can Cover 1.5 Times The Area Of Entire India

India and China are engaged in a border dispute in Eastern Ladakh for the past seven months, and their troops...

S400-VS-F35 S400-VS-F35
Americas22 hours ago

Is The UAE Threatening To Opt For Russian Su-57 Jets Over US’ Stealth F-35 Warplanes??

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has warned that if the US refuses to supply it with F-35 and MQ-9 Reaper...

india-russia india-russia
Featured23 hours ago

Indian, Russian Navy Hold PASSEX Exercise In The Eastern Indian Ocean Region

On the occasion of Navy Day, the Indian Navy is conducting a passage exercise (PASSEX) with the Russian Navy in...

Pakistan-Turkey-Relations Pakistan-Turkey-Relations
Featured1 day ago

After Backing Pakistan on Kashmir, Is Turkey’s Erdogan Hiring Syrian Mercenaries To Fight In The Valley?

For some time now, Turkey has been making attempts to grow its influence among the Muslims in South Asia in...

iran-israel iran-israel
Featured1 day ago

Assassination Of Top Iranian Scientist Will Complicate Relations Between The US & Iran: Joe Biden

Joe Biden, the next President of the United States said the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is likely...

Asia Pacific1 day ago

From Rafales, Su-30 MKIs & Tejas, Why Next-Gen BrahMos Missile On Indian Air Force Jets Can Be A Game-Changer For India?

Amid the border row with China, the Indian armed forces successfully test-fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles in the past...