Japan, Singapore conclude free trade deal

Oct. 21, 2001 at 11:54 PM
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SINGAPORE, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Japan and Singapore have reached agreement on a free-trade accord, and both sides expect the Japan-Singapore Economic Agreement for a New Age Partnership to be finalized by the end of the year.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong met Saturday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Shanghai to discuss the trade agreement, along with the global economy and the next round of World Trade Organization talks.

This is the first trade agreement for Japan, and the second one for Singapore, which has already signed a deal with New Zealand.

The free-trade agreement is billed as the "the first comprehensive and substantive bilateral economic partnership agreement in Asia."

No further details were released.

Singapore is currently negotiating a similar deal with the United States and Australia.

The negotiations with the United States are at an advance stage, and another round of talks is scheduled for December. A US-Singapore free-trade accord would be the first deal reached by a U.S. administration with an Asian country.

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