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Taiwan, Singapore to discuss trade pact

Officials from Taiwan and Singapore said they will explore the possibility of signing a free-trade-style agreement later this year, a step forward for Taiwan’s goal of bolstering economic ties with other regional economies after its landmark trade deal with China in June.

Taiwan and Singapore don’t have formal diplomatic relations, because Beijing has successfully blocked most countries from officially recognising Taiwan. But both islands are members of the World Trade Organization. Singapore was Taiwan’s fourth largest export market by value in the first half of this year, after China, the US and Japan. The Southeast Asian country was also Taiwan’s ninth largest source of imports, according to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance.