S. Korea, Singapore sign FTA

www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-04

S. Korea, Singapore sign FTA

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Xinhuanet) — South Korea and Singapore formally signed a free trade agreement (FTA) here Thursday, reported the South Korean Yonhap News Agency.

The agreement was signed between South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, said Yonhap.

The FTA could boost Seoul’s competitiveness in the service sector and expand Singaporean companies’ investment here.

Singapore is one of Asia’s leading centers for shipping, logistics and finance, and the agreement is expected to help South Korean companies hone their competitiveness in those sectors.

This is South Korea’s second free trade pact following the one with Chile, which effectuated in April last year.

Under the accord, Singapore will abolish tariffs on all imports from South Korea. South Korea will eliminate import duties on 91.6 percent of Singaporean products over the next 10 years.

Products made in Kaesong industrial complex in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will have the same status as those produced in South Korea, an incentive for South Korean companies that invest in the industrial park.

The deal came as Seoul is seeking to strike free trade accords as part of its efforts to continue to power its export-driven economy.

South Korea recently signed a preliminary free trade pact with the European Free Trade Association, a four-nation free trade bloc comprising Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The country is currently in discussions with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Canada for free trade accords.

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source: Xinhua