EAEU signs free trade agreement with Singapore under Armenian chairmanship

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Russian-led economic alliance of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, has signed a free trade agreement with Singapore during the annual summit of the Supreme Eurasian Council, the organisation’s executive body in Yerevan, the Armenian press has reported.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Armenia’s prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, Lee Hsien Long, his Singaporean counterpart noted his country was honoured to be the EAEU’s first partner in a comprehensive free trade agreement.

“We, as a country residing in the EAEU, have made a considerable effort for broadening the geography of the EAEU’s foreign ties, and Singapore has been in the centre of our attention,” said the Armenian PM.

“The organisation has been growing stronger every year for five years already. It has proved its viability and appeal as an international integration association,” he continued, adding that the next step for the alliance should be the removal of barriers to the free movement of labour.

“We greatly highlight the establishment of a single gas market in the EAEU which will (…) raise its competitiveness in the global market,” he also said.

Aside from the deal struck with Singapore, the Armenian chairmanship of the EAEU was instrumental in advancing free trade talks with Iran and Serbia. The latter is expected to be signed on October 25.

Armenia’s chairmanship this year also saw Iran start accession talks with the Eurasian Union, with the official accession ceremony to take place in late October.

Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin both called for dismantling trade barriers within the economic bloc.

Moldova’s pro-Russian president Igor Dodon, who represented his country as the head of an observer state, stressed that the EAEU and the European Union should create a free trade zone. “Participating in new integration programs is a priority for Moldova,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Mr Pashinyan told the Russian president that the Russian Federation was Armenia’s strategic partner and he hoped to make bilateral relations stronger.