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PM Lee wants free trade issues with Australia resolved as a package

Published on Oct 11, 2012 1:36 PM
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) speaks during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard during a visit to Parliament House in Canberra on October 11, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday that he hopes difficult trade issues between Singapore and Australia can be resolved soon, but insisted they had to be settled as a package.

The two countries signed a free trade agreement in 2003, but nine years and two ministerial reviews later, several issues remain unresolved.

These include Singapore Airlines not being allowed to ply the Sydney-Los Angeles route, Singapore businesses being shut out of government procurement at the state level in Australia and some Australian law degrees not being recognised in Singapore.

Mr Lee said on Thursday at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Canberra: "These items have to be seen as a bundle because you don't deal with them one by one but an overall package which both sides will find palatable and saleable."

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