The E.U. and Singapore have agreed to start talks on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). Representing around 55 billion euro of bilateral trade, Singapore is a key trading partner for the EU. The hope is that the agreement will serve as a building block for a regional EU-ASEAN FTA. Negotiations over the regional accord were temporarily halted in early 2009 because of disagreements concerning the scope of the agreement. The bilateral agreement between the E.U. and Singapore is therefore viewed as a milestone that could help pave the way towards the ultimate objective of a broad region-to-region trade accord.