Channel News Asia | 30 November 2018
Singapore and Argentina to boost economic ties
By Afifah Ariffin
BUENOS AIRES: Singapore and Argentina will work to boost economic ties, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires on Thursday (Nov 29).
Both leaders welcomed the progress made on negotiations for a bilateral investment treaty and said they expect to conclude talks by the first half of next year. They also agreed to begin discussions next year on an agreement to avoid double taxation.
The two deals are expected to boost trade and investment flows between the two countries.
In 2017, trade between Singapore and Argentina amounted to S$240 million in products such as motor vehicle parts, insecticides and fish. Trade in services in areas such as transport, financial and trade-related services also surpassed S$200 million in 2016. Bilateral investment flows between the two countries have also grown, with the total stock of investment amounting to almost S$600 million by the end of 2016.
The two leaders agreed to work towards holding the first round of talks on a free trade pact between Singapore and MERCOSUR - a South American trade bloc that comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay - by the first quarter of 2019.
The Singapore-MERCOSUR Free Trade Agreement, which was launched in July, will allow Singapore companies greater access to a market of 295 million people with a combined GDP of US$2.9 trillion.
Mr Lee and Mr Macri also spoke about the importance of enhancing air connectivity between the two countries. Singapore and Argentina expanded an air services agreement in August.
During the breakfast meeting, both leaders agreed to continue regular high-level political dialogue, as well as conduct more frequent and active exchanges.
Mr Lee reiterated his invitation to Mr Macri to visit Singapore next year.
On Thursday, Mr Lee also met Pro Tempore President of the Argentine Senate Federico Pinedo, Buenos Aires Senator Esteban Bullrich and Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta. The leaders discussed ways to expand cooperation between Singapore and Argentina’s key provinces.