UK to be included in EU-Singapore trade deal?

The EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement currently being established could be extended to include post-Brexit UK in an effort to ensure continuity.

Theresa May speaking at CHOGM

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The UK could be included in a trade deal between Singapore and the European Union despite Brexit, the nation-state’s foreign minister said.

UK to be included in EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

Vivian Balakrishnan, who is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in London, told the BBC that he expected the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement to be ratified this year and that it could be extended to allow the UK to participate in a “continuity arrangement” when it comes into effect next year.But Mr Balakrishan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that such an arrangement would have to be approved by Brussels as part of the Brexit negotiations.“If we can get it ratified and into force next year then, when Britain leaves or invokes the Brexit clause, we will make what we call ‘continuity arrangements’ which will allow us to port the provisions of the EU-Singapore FTA to Britain,” he said.“Britain and Singapore have a special relationship. We are both free traders, we believe in integration, we believe in economic interdependence and we are keen to help Britain get across this transition with minimal disruption.“In due time, we can subsequently look to upgrade, modify, improve the agreement but it is very important that in this transition period not to have a hard stop.”
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Commonwealth economic zone

Meanwhile a report in the Nikkei Asian Review on Friday said that the UK was seeking to develop a $700 billion economic zone with such former colonies as India and Australia by 2020 in a bid to “plug the hole created by its impending divorce from the European Union”.The report said, “The UK hopes to use the biennial gathering (of Chogm) as a chance to tap back into the Commonwealth’s extensive network across Asia and Africa as it searches for ways to blunt the impact of Brexit. The Commonwealth is home to a total of 2.4 billion people, with 18 of its member countries located in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Brexit has created a sense of economic urgency in Westminster. But enthusiasm for closer ties with the British varies among Commonwealth nations. African countries view Brexit as an opportunity to rebuild relations with the UK while an Indian official said his government views developing an economic zone in the Asia-Pacific region as more far more pressing.”The 53 Chogm nations met behind closed doors on Friday with much press attention focused on whether or not the leaders would endorse Prince Charles as Commonwealth head in succession to his mother, Queen Elizabeth.But Tevita Tu’i Uata, Tonga’s trade minister, told ITV News that people in his country “are drowning” because of rising sea levels and that climate change would be high on the agenda for discussion.“Maybe sorting out who is going to lead the Commonwealth is also an issue, but it’s not as pressing an issue to [Tonga] as taking care of climate change,” he said.
The meeting in Windsor is set to agree a joint communiqué backing a ‘Blue Charter’ to give better protection to the world’s oceans.
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