South Korea, S'pore to boost economic cooperation

PM Lee, President Moon witness exchange of six agreements, including trade and environmental cooperation

Singapore and South Korea yesterday vowed to step up economic cooperation and work together for peace and stability in the region.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and visiting South Korean President Moon Jae In witnessed the exchange of six agreements on trade, investment, industry, energy, environmental cooperation, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.

The two countries will launch a review of the implementation of the Korea-Singapore Free Trade Agreement within six months and look to further liberalise tariffs for certain products, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry in a statement.

Singapore and South Korea also reaffirmed their commitment towards the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an Asean-led trade pact that involves trading partners Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Mr Lee and Mr Moon, who is on a three-day state visit, discussed specific ways that South Korea could work more closely with Singapore - which is Asean chairman this year - and the other Asean nations.

Under Mr Moon's New Southern Policy, South Korea is seeking to expand ties with South Asia and South-east Asia.

Mr Moon said he and Mr Lee agreed to greatly expand bilateral trade and swiftly finalise negotiations to amend their double tax avoidance agreement.

Mr Lee noted Singapore companies are showing growing interest in Korean sectors, such as real estate, manufacturing, electronics, precision engineering, transport and information and communications technology.

The leaders also discussed strengthening air connectivity.

Referring to the six agreements, Mr Lee said both sides are exploring new areas of cooperation where they complement each other. They will work together on medical technology, the industrial Internet of Things and such technologies.

Said Mr Lee: "The Republic of Korea is strong in technology and innovation, while Singapore is well-connected to the region."

Mr Moon, whose visit ends today, said Singapore contributed immensely towards ushering in a new era of peace in the Korean peninsula by hosting the historic summit between the US and North Korea last month.

"On behalf of all Korean people, I would like to once again express my profound gratitude to the people of Singapore," he said.