Singapore, South Korea affirm importance of keeping trade, supply chains open amid coronavirus crisis

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (centre) with officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry - (from left) Asean division director Alpana Roy, Trade Deputy Secretary Luke Goh, North-east Asia division senior director of  Adrian Ng a
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (centre) with officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry - (from left) Asean division director Alpana Roy, Trade Deputy Secretary Luke Goh, North-east Asia division senior director of Adrian Ng and Asean division senior assistant director of Min Kuek - during a video conference with South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung Hee on March 27, 2020.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and Republic of Korea Trade Minister Yoo Myung Hee at a videoconference on March 27, 2020.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and Republic of Korea Trade Minister Yoo Myung Hee at a videoconference on March 27, 2020.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY

SINGAPORE - Singapore and South Korea reiterated the importance of ensuring open trade flows and supply chain connectivity amid the coronavirus outbreak as the two countries reaffirmed their close and multifaceted economic ties.

This came about during a video conference on Friday (March 27) between Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung Hee, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a media release.

Mr Chan on Wednesday announced that Singapore would work closely with six countries - Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Myanmar and Brunei - to ensure that trade lines via land, air and sea remain open for the flow of goods and essential supplies amid the challenges posed by the pandemic. Singapore and New Zealand also affirmed their commitment to ensure supply chains remain open and connected earlier this month.

During their discussion on Thursday, Mr Chan and Ms Yoo also agreed to work closely to facilitate business exchanges to support the operations of companies in both countries.

They discussed ways to strengthen bilateral and regional trade ties, including cooperation in the digital economy.

As their countries are participants in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the ministers also affirmed their commitment to help the proposed trade pact reach a signing this year, a move which will boost global economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, said the statement.

The RCEP includes 15 member countries, including all Asean nations, and accounts for nearly 30 per cent of the world's gross domestic product.

South Korea was Singapore's eighth largest trading partner in 2019, with total bilateral trade amounting to $39.4 billion, said MTI. In 2018, Singapore was the sixth largest foreign investor in South Korea, while the country's was the Republic's sixth largest Asian foreign investor, it added.