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5th Korea-Singapore FTA implementation review 2022-06-17

Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry’s Director-General for FTA Policy Yang Kwi-wook led the Korean delegation in the 5th Korea-Singapore FTA implementation review meeting on June 16 via videoconference to assess both sides’ implementation progress regarding the bilateral FTA enforced in 2006.

The Singaporean delegation head was Director Tan Lui Hai of Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. Singapore is second in rank among ASEAN nations in terms of trade and exports, playing a major role as a core economic partner and a key country in the new Southern region.

The Korea-Singapore FTA is the second FTA for South Korea, following the Korea-Chile FTA. Since coming into force in March 2006, the Korea-Singapore FTA is deemed a great contributor to trade and investment expansion.

Korea-Singapore trade volume in 2005 stood at USD 12.7 billion, but in 2021, stood at $24.9 billion, having exploded by 96.1 percent over the years post-FTA. Korea’s exports to Singapore shot up by 91.9 percent from $7.4 billion in 2005 to $14.2 billion in 2021. Korea’s imports from Singapore also rose 101.9 percent from $5.3 billion to $10.7 billion. Korea’s key export items are semiconductors, ships, and diesel, whereas Singapore mainly exports semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing equipment and optical components.

Investments from Korea to Singapore increased 1,271 percent over the same period, while Singapore’s investments to Korea also soared 974 percent.

During this 5th implementation review meeting, the delegations provided updates regarding the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA) settled in December 2021. They also discussed cooperation in new trade areas.

Regarding the FTA country-of-origin standards that currently adhere to the HS 2012 standard, Korean delegates proposed their amendment to adhere to HS 2022, which would improve FTA utilization and the customs clearance environment.

In addition, Korea urged Singapore to negotiate with Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs or Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to speed up procedures for registration of Korea’s domestic work sites and Singapore’s imports permit approval. Further discussions covered the prospects of mutual recognition of technician licenses and people-to-people exchange of quality expertise.

Director-General Yang stated that “this FTA implementation review meeting with Singapore has been an opportunity for bolstering economic cooperation across diverse areas like digital trade and new trade issues, which are, in the pragmatic sense, very helpful in exporting Korean products to Singapore.”