U.S., Singapore Sign Free Trade Agreement

U.S., SingaporeSign Free Trade Agreement

After more than two years of negotiations, the United States and Singapore finally concluded
trade talks with the signing of a historic free-trade agreement.

Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and President George W. Bush at the FTA signing
ceremonyPresident George W. Bush and Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong signed the
U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA) — the first-ever free-trade agreement between the
United States and an Asian nation — in a ceremony held at the White House. Following the ceremony,
Bush and Goh issued a joint statement that declared the USSFTA “would enhance mutual prosperity and
reinforce the strategic partnership between the two countries.”In his speech delivered at the
signing ceremony, Goh said Singapore is the 12th-largest trading partner and the second-largest
Asian investor in the United States. According to the U.S.-Singapore FTA Business Coalition, a
lobbying group, Singapore also is the biggest customer in Southeast Asia of U.S. goods — U.S.
exports to Singapore average $18 billion annually. Moreover, according to the Office of the United
States Trade Representative (UStr), two-way goods and services trade between the two countries
totaled $38.8 billion in 2001.Terms that affect the textile sector are carried under the Trade In
Goods section of the USSFTA. According to the terms, textiles and apparel will be duty-free
immediately if they meet the agreement’s rule of origin, which, the UStr said, will promote new
opportunities for U.S. and Singapore fiber, yarn, fabric and apparel manufacturing. In addition,
the terms also state that a limited yearly amount of textiles and apparel containing non-U.S. or
non-Singapore yarns, fibers or fabrics may also qualify for duty-free treatment.

Summer 2003