On November 15, Australia and Hong Kong signed a Declaration of Intent signifying the successful conclusion of negotiations on the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and an Investment Agreement. Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, and Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau finalized the deal on the sidelines of 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The negotiations for the FTA and Investment Agreement began in 2017. The agreements aim to to expand existing market access between the two regions, and mark a significant milestone in the two regions’ history of fruitful trade relationships.

On October 31, Australia became the sixth nation to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), popularly known as Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) trade agreement. The agreement is set to come into force on December 30, sixty days after at least half of the signatories ratify the deal. The other five nations that have ratified the agreement are Japan, Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand, and Canada. As the members of the first group of signatories, these six countries will receive the maximum benefits from the agreement.

The CPTPP also includes Chile, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Peru, and Vietnam. Originally, the TPP had twelve signatories—the U.S being the twelfth. President Trump pulled out of the deal last year, leaving the rest of the eleven nations to form the renewed TPP-11 Agreement.

On October 19, Singapore signed the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) and the EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement (EUSIPA). The EUSFTA is a long-awaited trade deal with the 28-member European Union, and the first of its kind between the EU and a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The progressive deals act as a gateway to each of the region’s ever-expanding markets, and are aimed at region-to-region cooperation and enhanced business. These agreements were signed in an effort to counter rising global trade protectionism, and could potentially serve as the foundation for an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement.

The two deals were signed by Singapore and EU officials on the side-lines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Brussels, Belgium.