| S Korea, Singapore make step towards signing FTA |
South Korea and Singapore made a progressive step toward signing a free trade agreement (FTA) at working-level talks held last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Monday (November 1).
During the talks, which were held on Monday through to Wednesday last week in Bangkok, the two countries reached common ground in the service sector investment, the recognition of vulnerable or strategic industries, quarantine and food safety rules and government procurement and environmental protection issues. Additionally, the standards for an origin of product regime were also agreed upon.
According to a recent study on the economic effects of a Korea-ASEAN free trade deal foresees higher sales of Korean vehicles and other transport equipment, and better ASEAN performance in exports of farm products, electronics equipment to Korea.
The study, by Hong Yi-seok, assistant professor at Seokyeong University, estimates that total exports from Korea to ASEAN will increase to $20.6 billion and ASEAN exports to Korea will reach $4.6 billion a year.
KIEP and the Korea International Trade Association in their studies have estimated that the country's gross domestic product will benefit by 0.64 percentage points and the trade account balance will rise by $5 billion to $6 billion, making ASEAN one of the more ideal free trade partners for Korea.
In 2003, Korea exported $15.1 billion to Southeast Asia, accounting for 4.2 percent of ASEAN's total imports from the world. The region exported to Korea $17.1 billion or 4 percent of her total exports to the world.
Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand accounted for most of $29.5 billion in total trade between ASEAN and Korea last year.
[Digital Herald News]