SINGAPORE: Trade between Singapore and Latin America has more than doubled since 2005.
Trade volume hit US$30.1 billion in 2011.
Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Grace Fu said Singapore’s political engagement with the region has also been stepped up.
On Europe, MP for Sembawang GRC Ellen Lee asked about Singapore’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU).
Talks concluded in December and will see the EU eliminate tariffs on all Singapore imports over a five—year period.
Ms Lee asked: "It is widely felt that the EU could do more in economic relations and cultural exchanges. Can minister explain why Singapore seems to have a taken a longer time to conclude its FTA negotiations with the EU and how it was clinched?"
Ms Fu said: "Our general approach towards all negotiations is that it is more important to do it right than to do it fast. We’re confident we secured a comprehensive and high quality agreement that will benefit both businesses and consumers of both regions.
"These FTA networks are not just important economically but also strategically. They provide strong institutional links to strong global and regional powers. Members will know how vital international trade is to Singapore. As our FTAs are all WTO—plus, in other words it’s better than WTO terms, collectively they help to provide an added impetus to global trade liberalisation talks."
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