The European Union and Singapore signed the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement
At a time when some countries choose the dangerous route of economic protectionism, and in a commercial period in which the trade war between the United States and China is cooling the markets, Europe and Singapore have chosen the path of free trade.
In particular, Europe and Singapore signed an EU-Singapore free trade agreement on Friday, which will increase services, improve access to the market and see the elimination of tariffs between the two parties in five years.
EU is eyeing a wider deal with the ASEAN bloc
The agreement was signed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“The signature of the EU-Singapore agreements is a strong message by like-minded partners to defend and promote an international system based on rules, cooperation and multilateralism,” said Juncker.
Britain remains in the deal for the time being
Singapore is the EU’s largest trading partner in the ASEAN region (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and in 2017 its bilateral trade grew to $ 98.4 billion, or slightly more than 10 percent of Singapore’s total trade.
For Singapore, the agreement will help make its exports to Europe more competitive, especially those in the pharmaceutical, electronics and petrochemicals sectors, segments that make up nearly 10 per cent of Singapore’s GDP.
According to experts, the EU decision is a move to get closer to Asia
Oxford Economics lead euro zone economist Angel Talavera said: “Following the recent FTA signed with Japan, it does show the EU is keen on expanding its trade ties with regions that have not been big trading partners until now, and in that sense, it does open the door for further deals with Asean countries in the future”.
According to Dr Fraser Cameron, director of the EU-Asia Centre, with US President Trump turning frosty, the EU is casting its eyes to less traditional partners, including economies in Asia, Cameron said. “The EU has been pivoting towards Asia for some time but the move has accelerated under Trump,” Cameron said.
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