03 March 2010 09:58 [Source: ICIS news]
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SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Singapore and the European Union (EU) will start their first round of negotiations to forge a free trade pact this month, the city-state’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the European Commission announced on Wednesday in a joint statement.
The discussions would take place on 8-12 March in
"The proposed free-trade agreement will strengthen economic ties between Singapore and the EU, provide new opportunities for traders and consumers alike, and contribute to generating growth in our economies," said EU Trade commissioner Karel De Gucht.
Singapore and the EU have also agreed to continue working closely with the World Trade Organisation towards concluding the stalled Doha negotiations on global trade, it said.
The EU is the city-state’s largest trading partner with bilateral trade exceeding €55bn ($75bn), the statement said.
Free trade discussions could also start soon between the EU and another ASEAN member - Vietnam, where De Gucht led an EC delegation on Tuesday.
“EU and Vietnamese officials will now work together to agree [on] the way forward towards the formal start of negotiations as well as an agreed framework for the talks to reach an FTA (Free Trade Agreement),” the EC delegation to Vietnam said in a statement.
No timeline was given for discussions.
EC had been given the green light by the 27 members of the EU to pursue negotiations with individual ASEAN countries in December 2009.
($1 = €0.73)
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