The EU has already signed free trade agreements with Singapore and Vietnam and is in talks with Indonesia. Earlier, before the 2014 coup, it had begun negotiations for a free trade agreement with Thailand, but talks were halted during the military government. With Thailand technically back to democracy, the EU is free to resume negotiations, but both sides have not yet officially begun the process. He also expressed concern about Asean`s commitment to free trade, given that the organization has not met its intra-regional trade objectives and that tariffs have actually increased rather than decreased between Member States. Since Singapore`s trade dynamics with the EU are different from those of other ASEAN countries, it is difficult to compare it with the EU`s bilateral free trade agreements with other ASEAN countries. Nevertheless, the Singapore-EU free trade agreement, with the Singapore trade agreement with the US, signed in 2003, could serve as a model for similar trade agreements in the region, as well as for the UK, if it wants its own free trade agreements after Brexit. “The key is that it brings investment to the country affected by a [free trade agreement] and withdraws potential funds from countries that don`t have an agreement because of the legal route,” said Bridget Welsh, an associate professor of political science at John Cabot University in Rome. Due to the decrease in friction points, there is no doubt that the EU will insist on free trade agreements with other ASEAN countries. However, any bilateral trade agreement reduces the need for a regional agreement. As each nation is open to duty-free trade with the EU, the need for a cross-border regional free trade agreement is diminishing. In the end, the EU will effectively negotiate a multilateral agreement. And when the UK enters into negotiations for a free trade agreement with Singapore, it will probably have two main objectives in mind. First, the UK has an obligation to reach an agreement as good as the Singapore agreement with the EU, as this would leave British traders and investors with a quick end to the USB key compared to their EU counterparts.
The good news is that if the UK decides to adopt its own free trade agreements with Singapore, it will probably be concluded in a relatively short period of time, thanks to the city-state`s experience in bilateral free trade negotiations and its minimal agricultural sector. However, the EU`s trade pacts with Vietnam and Singapore could harm other ASEAN countries if the EU increases its investments in both countries at the expense of other countries. The EU would not be deprived of including Cambodia and Myanmar in free negotiations. At present, both countries enjoy duty-free trade with the EU under the “Everything but Arms” (EBA) agreement; However, both are responsible for their human rights record. Ensure the participation of civil society groups in the political decision-making process leading to the full implementation of the Indonesian Free Trade Agreement (ASEAN). The issue also remains a sensitive issue with Indonesia, but discussions on a trade agreement with the EU that began in 2016 have continued this year and more are scheduled for December. Two years later, the negotiations were dissolved. Will the free trade agreements with Singapore and Vietnam announce a multilateral agreement between the two blocs? Tsering Namgyal is a Hong Kong-based journalist specializing in international finance, trade, legal services and regulatory risks. The EU`s global Europe strategy in 2016 indicated closer economic and security relations with the Asia-Pacific region, and when the bloc`s trade agreement with Vietnam was announced in June, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom hailed the agreement as an “important milestone” that could serve as a catalyst for agreements with other ASEAN countries. Although it is too early to say whether or not Brexit will lead to a tectonic shift in relations