Business & Economy

Singapore, UK sign FTA

Bangkok, Dec 10 (efe-epa).- Representatives of the governments of the United Kingdom and Singapore met in the city state on Thursday to sign a free trade agreement that covers a bilateral trade relationship valued at $22 billion (18.2 billion euros).

The agreement, which is very similar to the one between the Asian nation and the European Union, comes days before the United Kingdom leaves the European single market after the Brexit transitional period agreed for its withdrawal from the EU ends this month.

The FTA “provides immediate and tangible benefits for both countries,” said Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing in a Facebook post confirming the first trade agreement between the United Kingdom and a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The signing was also attended by the British Secretary of State for Trade, Liz Truss, who said on Twitter that the agreement is “further proof” that the UK “can succeed as an independent trading nation.”

The agreement, which will be extended in November 2024, eliminates tariffs on a wide range of products, including electronics, automobiles and pharmaceuticals, and allows companies from both countries access to their respective markets.

A statement from the Singaporean ministry noted that the FTA with the United Kingdom allows companies from both countries “to continue to enjoy benefits similar to those available today under the agreement with the EU.”

On Friday, representatives of the United Kingdom and Vietnam in Hanoi are expected to sign a document that will bring negotiations between both countries on a future free trade agreement to a conclusion, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam said on its website.

The agreement with Singapore comes just two months after the FTA signed by the United Kingdom with Japan, which was the first major agreement signed by the European country since Brexit was confirmed. EFE-EPA


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