SEOUL: During his visit to South Korea, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore and Korea should “aggressively” review the Singapore-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
He urged officials from both countries to hasten negotiations so that it can make a “quantum leap” and become level with some of the other free trade deals that each country has with other nations.
The FTA, South Korea’s first with another Asian country, was signed in 2005 and came into force in 2006. Mr Lee highlighted this during a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Park Guen-hye on Thursday (Dec 11) ahead of the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit in Busan.
Ms Park said South Korea has been effectively following through on its discussions with Singapore in investments and engineering, while Mr Lee said that Singapore values South Korea as a key dialogue partner of ASEAN, as both sides share an interest in peace and stability in the region.
Both leaders also discussed an air services agreement and said they hoped there will be progress. They also noted the progress that has been made since Mr Lee made an official visit to Seoul a year ago, particularly in the areas of medical technology and IT.
Mr Lee said there are a large number of business projects, especially from South Korea to Singapore, and noted that there is an increasing number from Singapore to South Korea as well.
Mr Lee also congratulated Ms Park for hosting the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit marking the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-Korea relations, and will be attending a welcome dinner for ASEAN leaders, hosted by President Park.
As Singapore and South Korea mark 40 years of diplomatic relations next year, the scope of bilateral cooperation between the two nations is expected to be broadened.