PM Lee wants free trade issues with Australia resolved as a package
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says he hopes outstanding trade issues between Singapore and Australia can be resolved soon, but insisted they had to be settled as a package.
In a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Canberra, Mr Lee said the overall package should be one which both sides will find palatable and saleable.
The two countries signed a free trade agreement in 2003.
Since then, there had been two ministerial reviews but several issues remain unresolved.
These include Singapore Airlines not being allowed to ply the kangaroo route from Sydney-Los Angeles, and some Australian law degrees not being recognised in Singapore.
No indication though from the Australians on whether the impasse in talks will be resolved soon.
Ms Gilllard said the issues will be looked at again.
One area of cooperation that has been sealed is a new agreement on combating transnational crime signed between the police forces from both sides.
The agreement facilitates partnership in capacity building, information sharing and training.
And moving forward, both sides are keen to explore cooperation in areas such as education, sports and environment.
Reflecting the close links between the two countries, Singapore has also thrown its support for Australia's bid into the United Nations Security Council.
Australia faces competition from Luxembourg and Finland for a seat in 2013 to 2014.
Mr Lee said Australia is an important part of the regional architecture and it's beneficial for Asia-Pacific to be well represented in the Security Council.
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