Korea will sign a free trade pact with Singapore next month that will cut tariffs on growing trade between the rival Asian manufacturers of high-end electronics, the Finance Ministry said yesterday.
It will be the second such deal for Korea following one sealed in April last year with Chile, despite protests then by farmers and labor unions who feared it would ruin their livelihoods.
A deal with Sigapore, however, has been as controversial as the city-state has only tiny agricultural sector.
Korea has said it hoped the deal would help speed up free trade talks with Japan, along with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Europaen Free Trade Association (EFTA) that groups Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and tiny Liechtenstein.
Bilateral trade betweeen Singapore and Korea has doubled in a dacade to $11.6 billion in 2003