Singapore country snapshot

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This article is produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit

After five years of stable growth Singapore’s economy is expected to slow as the effects of the US–China trade war start to bite on key parts of regional supply chains.      

Singapore signed its first free trade agreement (FTA) under the ASEAN Free Trade Area in 1993. In keeping with its open-trade agenda, the country has since expanded its portfolio to cover 18 regional and bilateral agreements with 24 trading partners. It also recently signed a bilateral agreement with the European Union, the first to be completed between the EU and an ASEAN country. Singapore is the EU’s largest trading partner in ASEAN, and the EU is Singapore’s third largest global trading partner.

Singapore regularly ranks among the best countries in the world in which to do business based on its political stability, economic management and effectiveness in policy implementation. It places first out of 82 countries in the latest EIU Business Environment Rankings. As well as sound policies, the EIU identifies market growth opportunities in the luxury retail and hospitality sectors based on rising personal disposable income and an influx of tourists.

Enjoying similar success, Singapore ranks second out of 82 countries in the EIU Technological Readiness Rankings, a measure of how well prepared the world’s 82 largest economies are for technological change. It ranks first among Asian countries. The government has been focused on guiding the economy towards a high-technology future. In 2019  it announced a further $700m to support artificial intelligence (AI) research, on top of the $150m pledged in 2017.

In addition, the government will continue to prioritise the digitisation of public services. There are advanced plans in place to implement a single national digital identity. The long-term goal is that, by 2020, citizens will be able to launch businesses based on access to data from GovTech, a public agency that develops and manages data services.

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