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Singapore, South Korea sign FTA

Electronics and service sectors major beneficiaries of the agreement

SEOUL: South Korea on Thursday signed a landmark free trade agreement (FTA) with Singapore, the first with an Asian country, the foreign ministry here said.

Officials said the agreement would boost South Korea's competitiveness in the service sector and expand Singaporean companies' investment here.

Under the agreement, almost 75 per cent of Singapore's exports to South Korea, worth more than $3 billion, will enjoy immediate tariff elimination.

Companies in Singapore will be also granted tariff concessions on consumer electronics, precision engineering, biomedical sciences, chemicals and agricultural products. Singapore's service industries will benefit from enhanced access to the South Korean services market in areas such as education, logistics and environmental services.

All imports from South Korea will enter Singapore tariff-free and South Korean service providers will gain access to Singapore's construction, logistics and professional services markets. The deal was inked by South Korean Foreign Minister, Ban Ki-Moon, and his Singaporean counterpart, Lim Hng Kiang, in Singapore, nine months after the two countries initiated an accord. The agreement will come into effect by the end of this year following ratification by South Korea's Parliament. — AFP

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