SINGAPORE: Singapore and South Korea have agreed to expand cooperation in areas like trade, investment and the environment, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and South Korean President Moon Jae-in witnessed the exchange of six Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) on Thursday (Jul 12).
Mr Moon is in Singapore on a three-day state visit at the invitation of President Halimah Yacob.
Speaking during a joint news conference with Mr Lee, Mr Moon noted that Singapore is South Korea's second largest trade partner among ASEAN countries.
"The potential for development will be further magnified if we make the best use of our mutually complementary economic structures," he said.
In 2017, South Korea was Singapore’s ninth largest trading partner, with bilateral trade in goods amounting to S$45.4 billion, according to information from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
Three of the six MOUs were exchanged by MTI and South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
In the first MOU, Singapore and South Korea will launch a Korea-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (KSFTA) implementation review within six months. Both countries will also reaffirm commitment to work towards a substantive conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations by this year, MTI said in a news release.
The second MOU aims to enhance cooperation in medical and biotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, and Industrial Internet of Things, while the third will allow both countries to pursue mutual cooperation in smart grids, as well as energy security and Internet of Things applications in energy technologies.
Enterprise Singapore also exchanged two MOUs – the first with South Korea’s Ministry of SMEs & Startups (MSS), and the second with the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).
The MOUs, said Enterprise Singapore in a news release, establish new partnerships that drive collaboration and co-innovation between Korean and Singapore enterprises, especially among small and medium enterprises and start-ups.
The last MOU, on environmental cooperation, promotes bilateral collaboration in areas such as air and noise pollution, water resource management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as waste and hazardous waste management, according to a release from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.
Mr Moon was hosted to lunch by Mr Lee after the exchange of MOUs. He and his wife, Madam Kim Jung-sook, also had an orchid named in their honour at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.