Liberalising air pact is pre-condition for trade: Singapore PM

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on July 11, 2012

The Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, along with (from left): FICCI President, Mr R.V. Kanoria, Assocham past President, Mr Dilip Modi, and CII President, Mr Adi Godrej at a meeting in the Capital on Wednesday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma   -  Business Line

The Singapore Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, has expressed the hope that the investment and services agreement between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), as part of the Free Trade Agreement, will be concluded soon.

“One priority is to conclude the investment and services agreement of the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. The goods agreement is concluded, but the investment and services agreement is still being negotiated. It has been a long process and we hope it can be settled and settled before long,” the visiting dignitary said.

Air transport

He also expressed the hope that the air transport agreement can be settled quickly. “Ideally, in time for the ceremonial ASEAN-India summit in December.

If we get these agreements done, then we open up our services industry and boost investments and pave the way for integration in many other areas,” the Prime Minister said.

He was addressing a luncheon jointly organised by apex chambers of commerce and industry here on Wednesday. Pointing out that relations between India and Singapore had been growing, the Prime Minister called for doing more to achieve the full potential. In this connection, he suggested that the air services agreement between India and Singapore be further liberalised and felt that it could be on lines of what the island nation has with China.

He pointed out that not only were there 260 weekly flights between Singapore and China but the agreement allowed for an open sky policy. Generally, an open sky policy allows airlines from one country to operate unlimited flights between the two countries that have signed the agreement.

“The number of weekly flights between India and Singapore has been increased to 190. But as the number of flights has grown, so has demand. In India, every new permission has to be discussed and negotiated. If we can liberalise aviation, it will promote exchange of businessmen, ideas and knowledge. It will also provide a pre-condition for growth and prosperity” he said.

CECA update

The visiting dignitary also felt that the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement should be updated.

“It has taken longer than expected but we hope to conclude (the second review of CECA) quickly with meaningful improvements for both sides,” Mr Loong said.

The Singapore PM invited the Indian business community to look at investing in a host of sectors in the ASEAN region including ICT and road development projects.

Published on July 11, 2012
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