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Singapore, EU agreement unlikely this year

Staff writer |
The European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is unlikely to be ratified by this year, despite the "warm and strong" support for its early ratification, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

During the various bilateral meetings held on his trip with Europe, including with Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, the heads of state had all supported early ratification of the FTA. However, the European Parliament is set to hold elections in May.

"We had hoped to clear it before this Parliament collapses... but I don't think that's possible because the elections are about to come so we have to wait for the elections that's completed … and then we have to collect 28 ratifications from the different countries," Mr. Lee said.

Mr. Lee said Singapore is "very systematically" going to country by country to lobby for their support. "I think it is a good deal for them in many ways — market access in terms of the protection for intellectual property for music... the food champagne and camembert cheese or parma ham, things like that. And also fairer and more even competition for their companies coming to Singapore and competing against other countries which already have FTAs with Singapore."

"The governments we have lobbied have all expressed warm and strong support and we look forward to doing this as soon as we can," Mr. Lee added.

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