- POSTED: 25 Jun 2014 10:55
- UPDATED: 25 Jun 2014 23:18
Mr Lee says the Free Trade Agreement has enhanced the United States’ presence in the Asia-Pacific.
WASHINGTON, DC: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (June 24) celebrated the 10th anniversary of the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA) at a ceremony in Washington DC in the United States.
“It's enhanced America's longstanding presence in the Asia-Pacific and it's caused other regional countries to sit up and take note and think about how they, too, can deepen their relationship with the US,” Mr Lee said of the USSFTA.
Entering into force on Jan 1, 2004, the USSFTA was the first Free Trade Agreement between the US and an Asian nation and remains the only such agreement with an ASEAN country, according to a statement by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-ASEAN Business Council. Today, Singapore is the US’ top destination for investment in Asia. Bilateral trade has also grown 70 per cent since the treaty was inked, to reach US$68 billion (S$85 billion) in 2012.
Mr Lee, currently on a working visit to the US, is also urging US lawmakers to back the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership that the Obama administration hopes to finalise by the end of the year. In a speech on Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr Lee said the proposed agreement, which faces obstacles in the US Congress, is of great strategic and economic importance.
Mr Lee on Tuesday also met Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen to discuss global financial developments, and US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.
In a Facebook post on the same day, Mr Lee said Singapore and the US “share many common interests and strong ties” but “face many challenges”. Quoting former US President Franklin Roosevelt, Mr Lee wrote: “The only limit to our realisation of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”
Mr Lee's meetings continue in Washington, DC on Wednesday before he heads to New York for other meetings, as well as to launch the local office of Temasek Holdings.