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Germany and Singapore: partners promoting free trade and the multilateral order

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan in New York (28 September 2018)

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan in New York (28 September 2018), © Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

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Germany and Singapore intend to continue to expand their close partnership and to deepen their dialogue on foreign and security policy issues. This is what Foreign Minister Maas and his Singaporean counterpart Balakrishnan stated in September 2018 in their Joint Declaration on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

New agreements promoting free trade, investment protection and cooperation

Singapore has long been committed to promoting free trade and multilateral cooperation in South East Asia. As the leading financial and trading centre of the region, it sets great store by open trading routes with Europe in particular. Singapore and the EU are poised to take a big step forward as regards the expansion of their economic relations. Agreements on free trade and investment protection and a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Singapore have been signed at the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in mid October 2018.

Strengthening multilateral networks between Europe and South East Asia

Singapore is also a key point of contact for the EU with respect to foreign and security policy cooperation with South East Asia. Within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Singapore has assumed the role of Coordinator for ASEAN EU relation in 2018 for the next three years. As an anchor of stability in the region and a forum for peaceful conflict resolution and the establishment of a stable security order in South East Asia, ASEAN is a natural partner for the EU and Germany.


The strategic ialogue on conflicts surrounding Korea, Syria and Iran

Foreign Minister Maas and his counterpart Balakrishnan declared in New York that the planned agreements were “a clear and important signal of our joint commitment to strengthen rules based free trade, especially an open and transparent multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core.”
Both countries intend to coordinate their efforts to promote free trade and a rules based order during regular strategic dialogues in the future. There will be a particular focus here on conflicts on the Korean Peninsula, in Syria and surrounding the Iranian nuclear programme, which Singapore and Germany are working to resolve peacefully.

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Text of the Joint Declaration

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