THE COUNCIL AND SINGAPORE
Led by its Singapore Committee, chaired by Visa and co-chaired by Fluor Corporation, Philip Morris International, Coca-Cola, and UPS, the Council has built a close working relationship with the Government of the Republic of Singapore. Over the years, the Council has supported the development of the U.S.-Singapore bilateral relationship, including serving as a leading proponent for the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. The Council’s engagement with Singapore includes a Business Mission, regular meetings with Singapore’s Ambassador to the United States, and numerous meetings throughout the year hosted in Singapore and in the U.S.
With generous support from Citibank, General Electric, Google and Intel, the Council in cooperation with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) hosted a luncheon discussion during the 16th round of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation in Singapore on March 8, 2013. The purpose of the discussion is to create a platform for both business and government to exchange perspectives on perceptions and expectations of the real commercial value of the TPP to the business community, from small to big enterprises, across industries. The discussion also provides a medium for the private sector to voice their concerns and interests with actual TPP negotiators from Singapore and Malaysia. While the discussion will apply to all the 11 participating countries, it is however also very much focused on ASEAN and U.S. interests.
As part of the 16th round of negotiation, the Council and other business associations made a joint statement urging negotiators to show flexibility and narrow the range of differences so that the negotiations can be brought to conclusion as soon as possible.
SINGAPORE IN THE UNITED STATES
The Council serves as a forum for senior Singapore policymakers to address and dialogue with the US business community and the Council arranges advocacy on US business issues in Singapore with the government. Council programs over the past few years have included visiting Singaporean officials: former Prime Minister and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang and former Foreign Minister George Yeo. The most recent was a dinner in honor of PM Lee during his visit to the U.S. in April 2013.
A PERMANENT PRESENCE IN SINGAPORE
The Council has chosen Singapore to house its regional headquarters, led by Regional Managing Director Kathy Santillo. The Singapore office is staffed by Shay Wester, Fauzia Sheh and Sunita Kapoor, and is responsible for oversight of the Council’s offices in Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.
SUCCESS STORIES IN SINGAPORE
The US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, signed by President George W. Bush in 2003 and entering into force on January 1, 2004, was America’s first free trade agreement in Asia. Since the agreement’s inception, US exports to Singapore have risen over 70%, resulting in thousands of new U.S. jobs. During the first eight years of the U.S.-Singapore FTA, two-way trade increased 59.1% and U.S. exports increased 89.4%. The success of the agreement has helped drive U.S. participation in the TPP agreement with Singapore, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Peru.
Since its independence in 1965, Singapore has become one of the world’s most prosperous countries. Its free and open environment for business has led to the world bank ranking Singapore #1 as the easiest country in the world to do business overall, as well as the easiest place to trade across borders. Singapore was the 13th largest export market and 17th largest trading partner of the United States in 20121. The U.S. is the number two supplier of Singapore’s total imports just behind Malaysia.
Singapore’s strategic location at the entrance to the Strait of Malacca has helped it to become one of the most important shipping centers in Asia. The Port of Singapore, the world’s busiest in terms of shipping tonnage, is a key component of Singapore’s prosperity and economic health. Singapore is a leader in manufacturing of computer components, petroleum refining, and business services.