Singapore said Tuesday that it will start free trade negotiations with the European Union after talks between Southeast Asian countries and Europe stalled earlier this year.
"The EU's decision to proceed with a bilateral FTA with Singapore is a positive development," Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said in a statement. "This will be a milestone agreement which will lay the ground for an even closer relationship between the EU and ASEAN."
The EU and the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, known as ASEAN, broke off two-year free trade talks in March because of slow progress, the Trade and Industry Ministry said.
The EU is Singapore's biggest trading partner, accounting for $56 billion of sales, or about 12 percent of the city-state's total trade during the first 11 months of this year, the ministry said. In 2008, Singapore was the EU's 15th-largest trading partner.
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