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Singapore & Malaysia Seals Third ASEAN Telecommunications Accord

Singapore has today sealed the third ASEAN1 Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for telecommunications equipment with its largest trading partner Malaysia, further enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries. The ...

Singapore, 28 January 2005| For Immediate Release

Both Countries Committed to Lower Costs and  Reduce Time to Market for Telecommunications Equipment

Singapore has today sealed the third ASEAN1 Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for telecommunications equipment with its largest trading partner Malaysia, further enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries. The signing marks the commitment by both sides to recognise each other's equipment conformity testing processes by removing duplicative testing procedures and reducing the cost and time required to bring telecommunications equipment into both markets.

The agreement was signed by the Director-General (Telecommunications) of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, Mr Leong Keng Thai and the Chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Dato' V. Danapalan. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Singapore's Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, Dr. Lee Boon Yang and Malaysia's Minister of Energy, Water and Communications, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik.

On the signing of the bilateral agreement, Mr. Leong expressed his confidence that this will further catalyse the pathfinder effect for the rest of the ASEAN members, "I am heartened that we have come to this agreement with our closest neighbour and biggest trading partner, Malaysia. The agreement will bring much benefit to both the industry and consumers alike. This MRA will also help reinforce a strong and enduring partnership between the two countries. Being among the first few ASEAN countries to start work to implement the MRA, this agreement signed today will provide a head start to the overall MRA initiative."

In 2004, the total bilateral trade in telecommunication equipment between Singapore and Malaysia amounted to S$3.5 billion.

The MRA aims to boost market access opportunities for telecommunications equipment exporters from both countries and make telecommunications equipment more affordable and accessible to consumers. Telecommunications equipment companies can also expect to shave off up to S$1,200 per model and will be able get their products to market up to 30 days earlier when the MRA is implemented.

Typically, telecommunications equipment needs to be tested to the requirements of the receiving country before it can be certified and approved for sale. Under today's bilateral agreement, Singapore and Malaysia will first accept equipment test reports issued by accredited test laboratories recognised by each country. This particular agreement covers telecommunications equipment such as radio, GSM, ISDN and PSTN2equipment. This is known as Phase I of the bilateral MRA. In Phase II, countries will accept equipment which is compliant to the technical specifications of each country, as certified by independent certification bodies.

This bilateral initiative arose from the last ASEAN TELMIN3 3 Ministerial meeting held in Singapore in September 2003. At this meeting, member countries agreed to expedite the implementation of the MRAs for telecommunications equipment conformity testing by 2005.

This is the third such bilateral agreement under the auspices of the umbrella ASEAN MRA. Similar negotiations were launched between Singapore and Indonesia in April 2004 and between Singapore and Brunei Darussalam in May 2004.


Notes to Editor:

1 ASEAN The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) consists of Brunei Darussalam, Kingdom of Cambodia, Republic of Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Union of Myanmar, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Singapore, Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

2 Glossary of Terms:

  • GSM - Global System for Mobile Communications A public, all-digital cellular network, standardised worldwide for mobile communication.
  • ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network An integrated services digital network used for various services such as telephony, data, fax and video-conferencing.
  • PSTN - Public Switched Telephone Network A domestic telecommunications network usually accessed by telephones, fax machines and dial-up modems

3 TELMIN is a meeting of ASEAN Ministers handling telecommunications and information technology. The annual meeting seeks to strengthen ties, promote rapport and establish concrete channels of communication and cooperation among ASEAN nations. The meeting also provides policy direction for the e-ASEAN initiative and is an opportunity for ASEAN to form a caucus to influence international information and communication technology (ICT) developments. In due course, the forum aims to forge closer cooperation with counterparts in the rest of the region and beyond.

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies.

For media clarification, please contact:

Ms Noraizah Zainal Abidin
Assistant Manager, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Fax: +65 6211-2227