Singapore and Republic of Korea ink three MoUs To Foster Greater Economic Collaboration
The Singapore Government, in a press release on 12 July 2018, announced that Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy exchanged three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) today to promote greater economic collaboration in the areas of trade, industry, and energy.
The MoUs were exchanged by Dr Tan Wu Meng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs, Singapore and Mr Kim Hyun-chong, Minister for Trade, the Republic of Korea in the presence of Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister, Singapore and Mr Moon Jae-in, President, Republic of Korea.
Under the first Memorandum of Understanding, which is on trade, and is entitled the ‘Cooperation in Free and Open Trade’, both sides will sign a Korea-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (KSFTA) implementation review, which is scheduled to be launched within six months. This Memorandum of Understanding also reaffirms a mutual commitment by both the countries towards strengthening the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), including via the further liberalisation of tariffs for products under the Sensitive Track. In addition, the MoU commits both countries to working together to reach a substantive conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations by this year.
The second Memorandum of Understanding is on industry and is entitled the ‘Technological Cooperation in Response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution’. This MoU focuses on cooperation in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and aims to enhance collaboration in the fields of Medical/Bio-Technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The collaborations between the countries will include, but are not limited to (a) supporting joint R&D projects in relevant fields of cooperation, which may involve industries, academia, and research institutions; and (b) holding events such as joint seminars, conferences and business forums in areas of mutual interests. The Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) have been designated as the agencies responsible for the implementation of this MoU.
The third and final Memorandum of Understanding is on energy. It is titled the ‘Cooperation in the Field of Smart Grids’ and will allow both countries to pursue mutual cooperation in the areas of, but not limited to (a) smart grids, including distributed power generation, micro-grids, energy storage systems and advanced metering infrastructure; and (b) energy security and Internet of Things (IOT) applications in energy technologies. Additionally, cooperation includes, but is not limited to (a) joint bilateral R&D projects in areas of mutual interest; and (b) technical cooperation including training, exchange of personnel and information, and conducting joint research, workshops, seminars, and symposia. The Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) and Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA) have been designated as the agencies responsible for the implementation of this MoU.
In a statement to the press, Dr Tan Wu Meng, Singapore’s Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs said, “Singapore and the Republic of Korea enjoy good bilateral economic relations and today’s MoUs will further deepen our economic ties. I am particularly happy to note that both countries have agreed to launch a KSFTA implementation review under the MoU on free and open trade. The KSFTA is an important cornerstone of our bilateral economic relations and this review will ensure that the agreement continues to remain relevant to the business needs of both Singaporean and Korean companies.”
In 2017, the Republic of Korea was Singapore’s 9th largest trading partner, with bilateral trade in goods amounting to S$45.4 billion.