US, Singapore FTA Now in Effect
Agreement expected to introduce''sweeping'' market liberalization as two-way trade now tops $34 billion annually
WASHINGTON, DC - 01/01/04 - President George Bush has signed a proclamation authorizing the January 1 implementation of the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA) that he (below, right) and Singapore's Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong signed last May.
The agreement is expected to start a sweeping liberalization of trade in goods and services and enhance the protection of intellectual property rights with both countries completing the legal and administrative requirements to implement the accord.
Effective January 1, 78.7% of Singapore goods will immediately enjoy duty-free entry into the US, rising to 92% within four years.
All US goods entering Singapore will be duty-free with immediate effect. The agreement also calls for Singapore to further open up its economy to American companies.
Initial estimates show the Southeast Asian island-nation will save between $118 million and $176 million US dollars as a result.
Raymond Lim, Singapore's minister of state for foreign affairs and trade and industry, was recently quoted as saying that the USSFTA will initially boost Singapore's annual gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.5%.
He said the agreement is also likely to encourage hundreds of American companies to open regional offices in Singapore and use the city-state as a springboard for expansion into the Asian market.
There are already 1,300 American companies and 15,000 US nationals in Singapore, where private US investment is estimated at more than $27 billion. Two-way trade is estimated in excess of $34 billion.
The US-ASEAN Business Council, a Washington-based trade promotion group, has described Singapore as "one of our best friends in Asia."
The organization said the agreement will help "anchor the US in Southeast Asia" and send a strong and positive message of US commitment in the region.
For US firms, one immediate benefit is the opening up of Singapore's financial, insurance and legal services sectors.
US banks will be able to participate in retail banking and the quota on banking licenses for US banks will be lifted.
American law firms will also find it easier to form joint ventures with Singaporean firms and Singapore will recognize degrees from top US law schools for admission to the Singapore bar.
Singapore's free-trade pacts with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Free Trade Association have already entered into force with discussions currently underway with India, South Korea, Jordan, Canada, and Sri-Lanka, among others.
Over the past year, the US has completed free trade pacts with Chile and Central America with a framework recently crafted to form a Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.
In addition, the country already has free trade agreements with Israel, and Canada and Mexico (under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement), with FTA negotiations currently underway with Jordan, Morocco, Australia, the Middle East region, and several nations in the Caribbean.
back, or read the latest Front Page stories:
We Will If You Will, Says White House
WASHINGTON, DC – 09/20/05 – The world’s trading nations ''must work together'' to eliminate agricultural subsidies ''that distort trade and stunt development, and tariffs and other barriers to open markets for farmers around the world,'' President Bush told a meeting of the UN General Assembly last week, asserting that his Administration would accept the elimination of all barriers to free trade – both agricultural and nonagricultural – if other countries reciprocate.
Global Economy To Slow in 2006
WASHINGTON, DC – 09/19/05 – The world economy will slow considerably through the end of 2006 with expansion will drop to 4% in 2005 to a bit over 3% next year, according to the Institute for International Economics; the global outlook for 2006 is ''meaningfully darker'' not because of Hurricane Katrina’s effects on the world economy, but mostly due to a surge in oil prices that preceded the disaster.
Historic California Trade Mission Heads for China
OAKLAND – 09/16/05 – The landmark week-long China Discovery Tour and Trade Mission will offer participants – many of whom have never visited China before – numerous opportunities to visit a number of Chinese cultural landmarks, participate in several business briefings, and meet face-to-face with potential business partners in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai; the mission was organized by several organizations including the California World Trade Centers and the US Department of Commerce, and is expected to lay the groundwork for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s trip to China in November.