SINGAPORE, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- South Korea and Singapore have agreed to begin talks on a free trade agreement, a joint statement announced Thursday.
A South Korea-Singapore FTA Joint Study Group will be established to define the scope and other details of the FTA, and will hold its first meeting in January. The JSG, composed of government officials and members from the business sector and the academia, will complete its task within 6 month, the statement said.
Singapore has been at the forefront of bilateral free trade negotiations, having concluded agreements with Japan and Australia earlier this year. This week, a U.S. delegation is in town for what might be the finale to negotiations for an FTA between Singapore and the United States.
Earlier Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told state radio that Singapore's 10-year-old ban on the import of chewing gum may be scrapped as part of efforts to remove a sticking point in the negotiations.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is expected to arrive in Singapore on Sunday.