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US-Singapore FTA still "gold-standard", 10 years on

Experts hope the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement can be the foundation for more multi-lateral trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

SINGAPORE: The US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is now into its 10th year, and trade agency International Enterprise (IE) Singapore says it is a comprehensive gold-standard agreement that covers diverse areas like the free flow of goods, services exports and intellectual property.

This free trade pact could also be the foundation for other multi-lateral trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. "Market access is all about generating wealth and generating external demand for your goods and services. And that translates to the man on the street, and that equates to preserving and creating jobs for Singaporeans," said Mr Satvinder Singh, Assistant Chief Executive of IE Singapore.

Local company Racer Technology, which has a S$50 million in annual turnover in Singapore alone, has gained from access to foreign markets such as the US. The 20-year-old SME makes medical devices. After the US-Singapore free trade pact came into effect in 2004, revenue from its US business grew from S$2.5 to S$12.5 million annually.

"We find our sales increasing in such a way that I decided I should have a sales office there,” said Mr Willy Koh, the firm’s founder and chief executive.

Since 2004, total trade in goods between the US and Singapore has grown by 53 per cent, hitting S$77.7 billion in 2013. Latest figures show that total trade in services has more than doubled since 2004, reaching S$43 billion in 2012, and the US had an estimated S$107 billion of investment stock in Singapore as of 2012.

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