Singapore agreement: As Brexit negotiations proceed, the UK and Singapore conclude a free trade agreement

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In the U.K. Singapore has signed a free trade agreement worth more than 17 billion pounds in trade with Singapore.

In a statement on Twitter, British Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss confirmed that this is the second largest agreement of its kind signed in the Asia-Pacific region by Britain.

She revealed the agreement alongside a picture of herself with Singapore’s Trade Minister, Chan Chun Sing, which is essentially identical to the one signed by the city-state with the EU – effectively enabling trade to begin as before after 1 January.

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This comes as the U.K. And after Downing Street cautioned that gaps between the two sides remain “very wide.” EU negotiators are making a final effort to save the chances of a post-Brexit trade deal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission held talks at a dinner in Brussels on Wednesday to try to break the deadlock, but there are still significant differences.

I signed today with Singapore a 17.6 billion pound trade agreement, the second largest agreement we have signed in the #AsiaPacific region.

This guarantees business stability, suggests deeper future digital and service exchange ties, more proof that we will succeed as an independent trading nation pic.twitter.com/6pMLqB7V9BB

—Liz Truss (@trussliz) 10/12/2020

Ms. Truss said the Singapore pact created “certainty” for industry, meant “deeper future connections in digital and services trade” and was “further proof that we can succeed as an independent trading nation.”

The agreement follows the U.K.-Canada deal struck last month to continue trading on the same terms as the new EU agreement until the conclusion of the Brexit transition phase.

In addition to the Singapore Continuity Deal, the two countries also plan to start talks on an agreement on the digital economy.

It is also expected that Ms. Truss will sign a rollover agreement with Vietnam to ensure that after Jan. 1, trade continues on the same terms.

The United Kingdom’s position as a global #digitaltrade hub will be enhanced by a new digital economy agreement with Singapore.
This is the first agreement of its kind between Singapore and a European country.
Together, we will push new trade frontiers and accelerate Covid pic.twitter.com/wZlceuTua88 recovery.
—Liz Truss (@trussliz) 10/12/2020

“These two agreements are vital to the future of the United Kingdom as an independent trading nation,” she said.

“Not only are they securing trading ties worth billions of pounds, they are also paving the way for new digital alliances and joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“This will play to the UK’s strengths as we become a hub for technology and digital trade with influence far beyond our shores and define our role in the world for decades to come.”

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