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India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)

6 min read|Last Updated: July 5, 2022|
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The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) is a free trade agreement between Singapore and India that aims to improve bilateral trade relations was signed in 2005.

In the presence of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore and India successfully completed the second review of the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). It allows four types of businesspeople to travel between Singapore and India.

In response to claims that surfaced in early 2016 that Singapore had backtracked on its commitment on the CECA by blocking Indian IT professionals seeking work visas, and that India had put further trade liberalisation on hold as a result, a spokesman for India’s Commerce Ministry confirmed that India had not put the CECA on hold and that it was still in effect. Singapore also stated that it had not received any official notification from India that the CECA review had been halted.

Why is the India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) Important?

Our FTAs increase access to overseas markets for our companies when they export goods and services, protect their interests abroad, and provide clarity on foreign legislation.

In particular, under the CECA:

  • Singapore enterprises’ products are more competitively priced in India’s enormous consumer market now that tariffs have been cut under the CECA

  • Eliminated almost 3,000 tariffs and the reduction of another 2,000 or more. The following are some of the products that are beneficial:

    • Food Products
    • Plastics
    • Electronics
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Machinery and Mechanical Appliances
  • Granted Singapore service providers and investors privileged access to industries of interest, such as:

    • Engineering
    • Banking
    • Telecommunications
    • Real estate development
  • Greater opportunities to expand outside of Singapore as a result of this access

  • Clear regulations, such as those outlining dispute resolution procedures, provide Singapore investors more confidence and help them secure their assets in India

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What are the Benefits of the India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)?

Bilateral commerce and investment between Singapore and India have expanded dramatically since the CECA was signed.

Singapore enterprises will have easier access to investment possibilities and will be able to expand their commerce with India. The CECA, as part of our network of FTAs, makes Singapore a more appealing base for international enterprises, encouraging them to set up shop here and reach the Indian market from there.

As a result, good jobs have been created for Singaporeans.

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Is the India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) Responsible for the Number of Indian Workers in Singapore?

Short answer, No. The CECA do not provide unrestricted access to our labor market for Indian nationals. To work in Singapore, all Indian nationals must still apply for the necessary work permits. Professionals and international Intra-Corporate Transferees (ICTs) wanting to enter Singapore under the CECA, in particular, must meet the applicable work pass or entry conditions before being authorized to work in Singapore.

This includes meeting the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) salary and qualification requirements for an Employment Pass (EP), which are the same as those imposed on EP applicants from other nations. Even though ICTs are free from the Fair Consideration Framework’s (FCF) job advertisement requirement, they are subject to seniority, employment history, work experience, and other restrictions that are consistent with our international duties.

Is CECA responsible for the number of Indian Workers in Singapore?

Our workforce’s nationality is a result of the areas we’ve decided to focus on, as well as global demand and supply for people with the necessary skillsets. Whether or not someone gets hired to work in Singapore is determined by the need for talent in the business, not by CECA. Foreign nationals, with or without FTAs like CECA, are entitled to apply for work in Singapore, according to the current work pass standards.

Singapore has one of the world’s top local talent pools, but it is insufficient to meet all of the demands of the investments that generate the quality and variety of jobs that we have today. Our locals have profited from the new career opportunities that have arisen as our digital economy and demand for tech talent has grown.

At the same time, we’ll need foreign employees to supplement our domestic labor in order to keep these businesses growing. India has amassed a vast reservoir of tech expertise over the last decade. As a result, many of the foreign workers in Singapore’s computer-related industries are Indian nationals who came to Singapore on work visas to supplement our indigenous IT skills.

Nonetheless, we recognize the genuine obstacles that some of our Singaporeans face, such as foreign competition, nationality concentration, and job discrimination. The government keeps a close eye on it and manages it, ensuring that we have the proper expertise and skills to keep our economy booming.

Will the India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) Lead to Unfair Hiring Procedures in Singapore?

No. FTAs and the CECA do not cause unequal hiring practices. They are the result of a small number of bad employers. The FCF, which compels all businesses to follow fair hiring processes that are open, merit-based, and non-discriminatory, protects the government from such behavior.

MOM proactively identifies employers who are accused of discriminatory employment practices, such as discriminating on the basis of nationality, among other factors. They are then placed on the FCF Watchlist, where their work permit applications are scrutinized more closely.

The TAFEP also works with these companies to help them improve their hiring processes. If companies refuse to cooperate, their work pass rights may be revoked.

Ready to start your company in Singapore or looking to secure your employment pass? Reach out to us and see how we can help in your journey!

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FAQs

What is the difference between CECA and CEPA?2021-12-23T11:01:18+08:00

CECA is the acronym for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement while CEPA is the representation for Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. 

How many free trade agreements does Singapore have?2021-12-23T11:00:59+08:00

Singapore’s 24 free trade agreements make it an ideal destination for investors looking for business opportunities in Asia. 

Who signed CECA agreement?2021-12-23T11:00:28+08:00

The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Singapore was signed on 29th June, 2005 by the Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh and H.E. Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore. 

Is Ceca Free Trade Agreement?2021-12-23T10:59:01+08:00

What is CECA? CECA is a part of Singapore’s extensive network of 26 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). CECA entered into force in 2005. It was the first comprehensive economic agreement between Singapore and a South Asian country. 

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