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European Parliament approves EU-Singapore trade deal

The European Parliament has approved a free trade deal with Singapore that the EU hopes to use as a blueprint for further deals in southeast Asia. The deal was approved in several votes with a large majority, AP reports. It will become operational after the member states give their final approval. Under the agreement, both sides will gradually eliminate tariffs on goods and services over the next five years. It will also offer new opportunities for businesses on both sides to expand in each other’s regions and will allow EU firms to compete for public procurement contracts in Singapore. The EU and Singapore trade about €50 billion ($56 billion) in goods and €40 billion in services a year.