Wed, 05 Jan 2000

S'pore, NZ to sign trade pact

SINGAPORE (Dow Jones): Singapore is in the final stage of negotiations of striking a free trade agreement with New Zealand, the Trade Development Board said Tuesday.

Both countries are "at the point of intensive consultations," said chief executive Barry Desker, speaking at a briefing to detail the board's trade development plans for the city-state.

While declining to state a specific date, the agreement is likely to be signed in the next few months, Desker said.

Singapore is also currently working to sign similar free trade pacts with other countries, including Mexico and Japan, he said.

At the briefing, the board also unveiled plans to expand local companies' trade and foreign commercial presence, particularly in emerging and nontraditional markets.

The board is aiming for local companies' international trade to grow 6 percent-8 percent a year to S$175 billion (US$1=S$1.6505) by 2005.