The UK has signed a free trade deal with Singapore, international trade secretary Liz Truss said.
Truss said in a statement on Twitter the pact will cover trade worth £17.6bn.
Alongside a photograph of herself with Singapore’s trade minister Chan Chun Sing, Truss said it was the second biggest such agreement Britain has signed in the Asia-Pacific region.
Truss said the pact with Singapore “secures certainty” for business, would mean “deeper future ties in digital and services trade” and was “further proof we can succeed as an independent trading nation”.
It comes as UK and EU negotiators begin a final push to salvage chances of a post-Brexit trade deal after Downing Street warned the gaps between the two sides remain “very large”.
Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen held crunch talks over dinner in Brussels on Wednesday aimed at breaking the deadlock, yet key differences prevail.
Negotiations have faltered on fishing rights, among other issues.
Other outstanding differences include the “level playing field” measures aimed at preventing the UK undercutting the EU on standards and state subsidies, and the way that any deal would be governed.
Before leaving London, Johnson told MPs that no prime minister could accept the demands the EU is making, though insisted a trade deal was still possible.
Their meeting came ahead of a European Council summit on Thursday where von der Leyen is expected to debrief the leaders of the 27 member countries on the state of play with the negotiations.
Just three weeks remain until the current transitional arrangements expire.
Failure to reach agreement would see tariffs imposed on UK exports to the EU, the country’s biggest trading partner, and could also increase bureaucracy.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has suggested that a no-deal outcome could wipe 2% off gross domestic product, a measure of the size of the economy, in 2021.
Bank of England’s governor Andrew Bailey has warned the long-term damage caused by a no-deal situation would be worse than the economic hit from coronavirus.
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