A closer look at Singapore’s protein imports

On the 10 December, the UK signed a free trade agreement with Singapore which maintains UK access to that market after the UK leaves the EU.
calendar icon 31 December 2020
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What products does Singapore import?

In the year to October, imports of all product groups into Singapore increased, except dairy, which fell by a marginal 1% on the year. Imports of pig meat grew most notably, up by 12% (9,800 tonnes) compared to the same period last year, while shipments of beef (4%) and sheep meat (3%) also increased.

In terms of volume, dairy is the largest product group imported by Singapore, reaching 264,900 tonnes in the year to October. Accounting for most of these imports are shipments from Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. As of October, the UK accounted for only 1% of all dairy product imports in the year to date.

In October, imports of pig meat totalled 9,700 tonnes, up 17% compared to the same month last year. Imports for the year to date (Jan – Oct) totalled 94,300 tonnes, with most shipments coming from Brazil (43,900), while the UK made up 1% (1,000 tonnes).

Imports of beef fell by 8% on the year in October to 3,800 tonnes. Despite this fall, beef imports of the year to date increased by 1,300 (4%) tonnes compared to the same period last year. Brazil once again accounted for most of these imports (50%), with shipments from Australia also making a notable contribution (26%).

Meanwhile, sheep meat imports lifted by a significant 51% on the year in October, to 1,800 tonnes. Imports for the year to date (Jan-Oct) totalled 11,800, up 3% compared to the same period last year. The majority of these shipments came from Australia at 9,900 tonnes (84%) in the year to date.

Under this continuity agreement, tariffs will remain eliminated for most of Singapore exports to the UK, allowing Asian food products to enter the UK tariff free, up to a combined quote of 350 tonnes annually. Meanwhile, UK products will continue to benefit from duty free access to the Singapore market.

At present, the UK accounts for only a small share of the import volumes for the product groups listed. The agreement focuses on other goods and services, including negotiations on a UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement, but it would not stand in the way of possible export opportunities for UK agricultural products in the future.

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