(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, today completed final negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union and the southeast Asian country.
The agreement reached today is one of the most comprehensive the EU has ever negotiated and will create new opportunities for companies from Europe and Singapore to do business together, said the EU's executive body in a statement Sunay afternoon.
The growing Singaporean market offers export potential for EU, industrial, agricultural and services businesses, it notd.
An EU-Singapore FTA will be the EU's second ambitious agreement with a key Asian trading partner, after the EU-Korea FTA, which is in operation since July 2011.
"After our agreement with South Korea, sealing this deal with Singapore clearly puts the EU on the map in Asia. But we do not intend to stop here. I hope it will open the doors for FTAs with other countries in the ASEAN region, " said De Gucht.
Both sides will now seek endorsement from their respective political authorities and envisage initialling the draft agreement in Spring 2013.
Singapore is the EU's largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. It accounts for a third of all trade in goods between the EU and the 10-nation block ASEAN (Association of South-East Nations) at EUR 46 billion in 2011.
Singapore accounts for more than half of all EU-ASEAN trade in services at EUR 28 billion in 2011.
The EU is Singapore's biggest export destination, ahead of China, the US and other ASEAN countries.
EU-Singapore trade in goods grew by 40 percent between 2009 and 2011.
EU-Singapore trade in services has grown by 41 percent between 2009 and 2011. Singapore is Asia's second largest investor in the EU.
It had investments of EUR 67 billion in stocks in the EU in 2010, which represents considerably more than China's and India's investment stocks combined.