Liz Truss said Britain was re-rising as a key trade force as she signed a absolutely free trade deal with Singapore on Thursday, the UK’s latest arrangement forward of the departure from the European Union on Dec. 31.

The deal signed by the Trade Secretary and her Singaporean counterpart will come as Boris Johnson and EU main Ursula von der Leyen tried to seal a new trade pact and avert what some worry will be a chaotic close to the 5-year Brexit process.

The arrangement caught in Singapore mainly mirrors a standing arrangement the state has with the EU.

“Fifty 5 many years after Singapore’s independence, the United kingdom is re-rising as a totally impartial country, and a key force in international trade,” Ms Truss said forward of the signing.

“With each other, we are paving the way for a brighter future, prosperous in financial potential and opportunity.”

Singapore, a wealthy town-state of 5.7m people today, counts Britain as its third-major trading partner for products and next major for products and services, and its top rated investment vacation spot in Europe.

Total bilateral trade in between the two countries was valued at $thirteen.5bn in 2019, in accordance to Singapore’s official figures.

The deal gets rid of tariffs, presents both of those countries access to each individual other’s markets in products and services and cuts non-tariff barriers in electronics, autos and automobile components, pharmaceutical solutions, health care equipment and renewable power technology, the ministry claimed.

Obligations will be eliminated by November 2024, the exact timeline as the pact in between the EU and Singapore.

The arrangement “offers British organizations a platform to access alternatives in the location by Singapore”, Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing claimed as he signed the deal with Ms Truss.

“Past the significant rewards to our respective organizations, the (deal) is a solid assertion from protectionism and nativism,” Mr Chan claimed, incorporating it will be “important in making sure a solid and resilient submit-pandemic restoration for the earth”.

Britain signed its very first key submit-Brexit trade deal with Japan in Oct, but Thursday’s arrangement is its very first with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The 10-region bloc is household to 650m people and – prior to the pandemic-induced downturn – had savored rapid financial advancement in latest many years.

Britain formally still left the European Union at the close of January and has spent the year negotiating its future connection with Brussels and placing trade agreements with key economies these types of as Japan and Canada.

Mr Johnson and  Mrs Von der Leyen have provided on their own right up until the close of the weekend to seal a new trade pact after failing to get over persistent rifts.

Failure to agree new policies to govern almost everything from trade to power ties would snarl borders, shock financial markets and sow chaos by supply chains in a earth now grappling with the financial price tag of Covid-19.