The EU and Singapore signed three agreements on the sidelines of theAsia–Europe Meeting to take their political, trade, and investment relations to a new level as the landmark trade deal aims to remove import duties and taxes and improve market access for services providers, investors and firms.

European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz, with Austria chairing the rotating presidency, announced the deal with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on October 18.

“The signature of the EU-Singapore agreements is another strong message by like-minded partners to defend and promote an international system that is based on rules, on cooperation, and on multilateralism,” said Juncker, adding that the trade agreement “will open up new opportunities for European producers, workers, farmers, and consumers”.

Both the leadership of Singapore and the European Union referred to one another as “like-minded” partners, while the EU’s Vice-President and foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the EU will do more to partner with Singapore due to its role as a key player in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This Partnership and Cooperation Agreement will enable us to strengthen the joint work that we are already doing, This includes countering climate change as well as tackling organised crime. The agreement is a significant step forward in our bilateral relations and will have a positive impact on (both) of our citizens and on our regions.”