Agence France-Presse 12/22/2009
Singapore, EU agree to start FTA talks
Singapore and the European Union (EU) have agreed to begin talks for a free trade agreement (FTA), the Southeast Asian state said Tuesday.
The FTA discussions with the EU, Singapore’s largest trading partner, should boost prospects for a similar accord between the region and Europe in the future, the ministry of trade and investment said in a statement.
"The FTA will contribute to regional economic integration by paving the way for an EU-ASEAN FTA," it said in the statement.
Negotiations for an FTA between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the EU were temporarily halted early this year, largely because of disagreements over the scope of the proposed accord.
"The EU’s decision to proceed with a bilateral FTA with Singapore is a positive development," Lim Hng Kiang, the minister for trade and industry, said in the statement.
"It demonstrates the importance of this region. As the EU’s first FTA with an ASEAN country, this will be a milestone agreement which will lay the ground for an even closer relationship between the EU and ASEAN," he said.
Singapore’s total trade with the EU was worth 78.6 billion Singapore dollars (57 billion US) in the first 11 months of 2009 which represents 11.6 percent of its total trade, the ministry said.
Singapore, a small, trade-dependent nation, has signed FTAs with various trading partners, including the United States, Japan and Australia.
SINGAPORE AND EUROPEAN UNION TO NEGOTIATE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
- Singapore and the European Union (EU) have agreed to start
negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA). This represents a
milestone in Singapore’s relationship with the EU, with whom we have
robust and long-standing economic ties. An FTA with the EU will be a
key addition to Singapore’s network of FTAs, as the EU is Singapore’s
largest trading partner.
- In the first 11 months of 2009, Singapore’s total trade with the EU
stood at S$78.6 billion, accounting for 11.6% of Singapore’s total trade.
The EU is also Singapore’s largest investor. As at end-2007,
Singapore’s overall FDI stock from the EU stood at S$150.8 billion.
- In 2008, Singapore was the EU’s 15th largest trading partner
globally, and EU-Singapore trade accounted for a third of all EU-ASEAN
trade, making Singapore the EU’s largest trading partner amongst
ASEAN member states.
- The bilateral FTA will not only promote the flow of goods, services
and investment, it is also likely to enhance collaboration in areas such
as trade facilitation and technical regulations.
- The FTA will contribute to regional economic integration by
paving the way for an EU-ASEAN FTA. Negotiations on this region-toregion
FTA began in 2007 but due to slow progress, both sides agreed
to pause in March 2009.
- Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang said, “The EU’s
decision to proceed with a bilateral FTA with Singapore is a positive
development. It demonstrates the importance of this region. Singapore
is keen to see a high quality agreement that includes substantial
liberalisation across a wide range of areas. As the EU’s first FTA with an
ASEAN country, this will be a milestone agreement which will lay the
ground for an even closer relationship between the EU and ASEAN.”
MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY
22 DECEMBER 2009