The Korea-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (KSFTA) was therefore a natural extension of the deep trade and investment linkages between the two countries.
2 Launched by the two trade ministers in Oct 03, the KSFTA is expected to be concluded by end 2004 and in force by mid-2005. Both sides reaffirmed the desire to achieve this target when the political leaders of both countries visited each other. With such strong political commitment, the Korean and Singaporean negotiators will soon go into their last round of negotiations in October 2004 to deliver a highly substantive and mutually beneficial agreement.
3 The KSFTA, when concluded, will further enhance economic ties between our two countries. Since the launch of the KSFTA in October 2003, both countries have seen an increase of 120 percent in total trade volume, compared to the same period in the previous year.
Singapore's exports to Korea increased by 110 percent and Korea's exports to Singapore increased by 134 percent, showing that sufficient interest and awareness have already been generated, even with the negotiations still ongoing. The KSFTA will put both countries well on the road to achieving hub status in their respective regions.
Singapore will serve as a launching pad for Korea into the ASEAN market of 530 million people, while Korea will be Singapore's gateway to Northeast Asia. This will set the backdrop for increased business opportunities and the creation of jobs and wealth in the future.