EU, Singapore ready to sign free trade deal

KUNA | 20/09/2013

EU, Singapore ready to sign free trade deal

BRUSSELS, Sept 20 (KUNA) — The EU and Singapore Friday moved closer to signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) after they released the draft text of the deal for approval and ratification by the two sides.

A statement by the European Commission here noted that it is the first EU accord with a Southeast Asian economy and has the potential to open the door to FTAs with other countries from the region.

The release of the texts follows their initialling, earlier today in Singapore, by the chief negotiators from the European Commission and Singapore’s Government, it said.

Negotiations between the EU and Singapore on the FTA kicked off in March 2010 and were concluded in December 2012.

"The EU and Singapore are already trading 1 billion euro worth of goods every week, and the agreement lays the foundations upon which business ties can prosper further. This is also the first step towards closer economic ties between the two major integrated regions in the world, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the EU, and their 1.1 billion citizens," said Rupert Schlegelmilch, the EU’s chief negotiator of the agreement.

The draft agreement is currently being translated into all 24 EU languages and will then be submitted to the European Commission for formal approval.

Afterwards, the EU Council of Ministers must first approve it before the agreement passes before the European Parliament for final ratification.

Singapore is the EU’s largest trading partner in ASEAN, and in 2012 the EU was Singapore’s second largest trading partner, after Malaysia.

Trade in goods between the EU and Singapore in 2012 amounted to 51.8 billion euro.
Singapore is the EU’s largest services trading partner in ASEAN. In 2011, total trade in services between the EU and Singapore amounted to 27.7 billion euro.

source: KUNA