UK strikes free trade agreement with Singapore, Liz Truss confirms

The UK has signed a free trade deal with Singapore, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said.

Ms Truss said in a statement on Twitter the pact will cover trade worth £17.6 billion.

Alongside a photograph of herself with Singapore’s trade minister Chan Chun Sing, Ms Truss said it was the second biggest such agreement Britain has signed in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It comes as UK and EU negotiators begin a final push to salvage chances of a post-Brexit trade deal after Downing Street warned the gaps between the two sides remain “very large”.

The UK has signed a free trade deal with Singapore, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The UK has signed a free trade deal with Singapore, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen held crunch talks over dinner in Brussels on Wednesday aimed at breaking the deadlock, yet key differences prevail.

Ms Truss said the pact with Singapore “secures certainty” for business, would mean “deeper future ties in digital and services trade” and was “further proof we can succeed as an independent trading nation”.

It follows the UK and Canada reaching a deal last month to continue trading under the same terms as the current European Union agreement after the Brexit transition period ends.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau sealed the "agreement in principle" in a video call on Saturday, the Department for International Trade (DIT) said.

The agreement does not give any new benefits to UK businesses.

But the DIT said it avoids an estimated £42 million of tariffs exporters in the UK would have faced if the Government had failed to get a deal.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.