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Singapore, EU Close To Trade Deal

May 2011 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Hassans.

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In a recent speech, Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, disclosed that discussions on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) are at an advanced stage.

The EU had, until they were suspended in 2009, pursued talks on a region-to-region FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The EU member states then, instead, decided to pursue negotiations towards FTAs with the individual ten countries within ASEAN.

Negotiations on a bilateral FTA with Singapore, the first such country and the EU's largest trading partner in ASEAN, started in March 2010. Lim confirmed that talks with the EU, which is also the largest market for Singapore's exports, are now at an advanced stage and it is possible that they could be concluded later this year.

The Minister also confirmed that the government remains committed to free trade, and that Singapore's network of FTAs has served it well. He also mentioned that negotiations for an extended Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are also progressing and that, with Malaysia joining the negotiations last year, the TPP has truly become a partnership spanning both sides of the Pacific.

He said that the government is confident that these two additional FTAs, when concluded, will deepen Singapore's position as the leading centre of business in Asia.

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