Myanmar’s deadly crackdown on mass protests poses a major obstacle to a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and Southeast Asian nations, a European legislator said Tuesday.

Glyn Ford said in Singapore that the crackdown had made it impossible for the EU to sign any free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that included military-run Myanmar.

The junta’s move to quell the protests, which were led by Buddhist monks, killed at least 13 people and led to hundreds of arrests over the past week.

“I think it is completely impossible now for the FTA to include Burma,” Ford told reporters, referring to Myanmar by its former name.

He is one of seven members of the European Parliament visiting Singapore and Vietnam to probe prospects for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Europe and the 10-member ASEAN, which includes Myanmar.

The two sides agreed in May to launch the free trade talks, setting aside differences over Myanmar.

ASEAN Secretary General Ong Keng Yong said at the time that the group would deal with the EU as a bloc of 10, including Myanmar.

But Ford said leaving Myanmar out of a free trade agreement would not be without precedent. He noted that South Korea signed one with ASEAN in May but that disagreements led to Thailand’s exclusion.

Asked how the situation in Myanmar would affect negotiations for an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement, Ford said: “It depends on how things proceed over the next weeks and months… It is certainly not the intention of the EU at the moment to actually sign an FTA that includes Burma.”

An ASEAN-EU free trade zone would cover nearly one billion people and be one of the world’s largest. Two-way trade totalled 137 billion US dollars in 2005.

Prior to the junta’s crackdown, the US and European nations already had tough economic sanctions in place, banning most investment and trade with Myanmar.

After the crackdown began, the EU said it would reinforce those sanctions.