In a social media post, Workers’ Party member Gerald Giam wrote about how in 2014, he brought up the issue of the Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA) and work pass privileges for Indian nationals.

During a Parliamentary session on October 8, 2014, Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Minister for Trade and Industry if he will provide an update on the Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA) negotiations and, specifically, whether India is entitled to special access to Singapore’s labour market or banking licences under the terms of CECA.

The then-Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Lim Hng Kiang answered that CECA has increased trade and investment flows between India and Singapore. Bilateral trade grew from S$16.6 billion in 2005 to S$25.5 billion in 2013. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from India into Singapore grew from S$1.3 billion in 2005 to S$20 billion in 2012.

“This has helped to create good jobs for Singaporeans”, he added.

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Mr Giam pushed the issue further and said that the Indians then were saying that they were entitled to allow more workers to come in here. Along with asking for the Ministry’s interpretations on what India’s claims were, he also asked if the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI)’s can “give us an assurance that the Government will stand up to pressure from the Indians to allow more of their nationals to work here?”

The Minister’s reply, summarized, was as follows: “If the Indians dispute that we are not giving them eight years as we agreed, then they can refer the case to us and, ultimately, there is a dispute settlement process”.

Mr Giam’s full post: