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Singapore, Eurasian nations to study feasibility of free trade agreement

SINGAPORE and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will conduct a joint feasibility study on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two economies, the Ministry of Trade and Industry announced on Thursday.

The process is expected to take up to 11/2 years as both sides study the opportunities, challenges and feasibility of an EAEU-Singapore free trade deal, and findings from the study will be used to guide the planned FTA.

The study marks one of the earliest steps in getting towards a trade deal, which was first mooted by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam in November 2015. Plans to embark on the study came at the conclusion of Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon's visits over the past month to all five member states of the EAEU - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan and Russia.

"My visits to the EAEU member states were very interesting and fruitful, and allowed us to identify opportunities to strengthen economic collaboration across various sectors," said Mr Koh, who noted unanimous support for a trade deal from the member states. "Countries such as Armenia and Belarus share similarities with Singapore - we are all small, open economies with limited resources."

Mr Koh, who is also Minister of State for National Development, urged Singapore companies to explore opportunities in the region.

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"There is good potential for collaboration in sectors such as agricultural processing and tourism. I encourage our companies to start looking at these markets seriously. To facilitate the entry of more Singapore companies into these markets, we hope to commence discussions on the EAEU-Singapore FTA soon," he said.

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