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TPP must form centrepiece of US economic rebalancing: Shanmugam

Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam highlighted Singapore's close and longstanding economic, defence and strategic relations with the United States at a closed-door dialogue on Thursday in Washington DC.

SINGAPORE: Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam highlighted Singapore's close and longstanding economic, defence and strategic relations with the United States at a closed-door dialogue on Thursday in Washington DC.

Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, welcomed the US' continued commitment to engage Asia, and strongly urged all sides to work towards the early conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

"(The TPP) must form the centrepiece of the US' economic rebalancing to the region," he said.

"The TPP will serve to level-up the US with ASEAN's other dialogue partners which have concluded a network of ASEAN-plus FTAs.

"According to the US Chamber of Commerce, the TPP will create 700,000 new jobs in the US by 2025.

"Strategically, the successful conclusion of the TPP will not only connect a dozen Asia Pacific economies in a massive trade and investment framework covering 40 per cent of global GDP, but will decisively set the rules of the economic game not just in the region, but globally."

"Can the US afford not to be deeply engaged? It is a no brainer," he added.

The dialogue, organised by the Center for a New American Security, brings together Singapore and US policy-makers, as well as think-tank, media, and corporate representatives to have a candid exchange of views on key international and regional issues of the day.

These include the challenges and opportunities in the Asia Pacific region, the regional economic and security architecture, as well as US-Singapore bilateral relations.

Mr Shanmugam co-chaired the dialogue together with former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, former Under-Secretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy, and former Governor of Utah and former Ambassador to Singapore and China Jon Huntsman.

He also highlighted key areas where both sides could cooperate to capitalise on US competitive competencies, such as developmental assistance, energy, economic cooperation, humanitarian assistance and disaster response as well as maritime cooperation, to bring about tangible benefits to the people in the region and the US.  

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