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Malmström visits Singapore to talk trade

This week, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström visited Singapore for a two-day visit to further discuss the free trade agreement between Singapore and the EU. The EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) is the first trade deal between the EU and a Southeast Asian country. It is a trade agreement that will deepen the economic relationship between Europe and Southeast Asia and lay the foundation for future negotiations other trade partners in the region.

In a blog post Commissioner Malmström highlighted the vitality of Singapore as a trading hub, despite its small size, “Singapore is a tiny island nation without natural resources. Yet, it's one of the world's richest countries, largely thanks to its deep and unflinching commitment to free and open trade”.

Singapore is the EU's largest commercial partner in Southeast Asia by a wide margin. Bilateral trade in goods and services between the EU and Southeast Asia reached over €235 billion in 2013. EU-Singapore trade amounted to roughly a third of that trade. Over 11,000 EU companies are established in Singapore and use the country as a hub to serve the whole Pacific Rim, a dynamically growing market of roughly 600 million consumers. Singapore is also a major destination for European investments in Asia, as well as Asia's second largest investor in the EU, after Japan. In 2013, the existing stock of bilateral foreign direct investment between the EU and Singapore was roughly € 140 billion.

In a joint statement, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang said, “Singapore and the EU are longstanding partners who share a firm belief in free and open trade on a rules-based global trading system. The EUSFTA will reinforce our efforts to remain open and connected, and strengthen our robust economic relations with the EU”.

Commissioner Malmström took the opportunity to further highlight the successful trade relationship between the EU and Singapore in a speech at the Singapore Management University, “This city-state, although it's very small and thousands of kilometers away, is a significant hub for the EU and is one of our top 20 trading partners for goods, and a top 10 partner in foreign direct investment. And our ties are growing. Two years ago, the EU-Singapore goods trade rose by 8 percent; trade in services and investment stocks rose by 15 percent”.

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