With regard to the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, a fundamental question was whether the U.S. should pursue free trade and investment relations on a bilateral basis with the island state of Singapore, instead of maintaining existing trade practices on both sides or pursuing more liberal trade relations through other means. The impact of these liberalized trade and investment flows on U.S. employment, imports and exports, as well as U.S. companies` access to Singapore`s services markets, was also discussed. Singapore is a city-state in Southeast Asia at the southern tip of Malaysia and through the Strait of Malacca of Indonesia. It has a population of 4.4 million, an area about 3.5 times larger than the District of Columbia, a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $88 billion, and a per capita income of about $20,600. It is an important trading country, whose imports and imports generally exceed its GDP. Singapore has been a strong supporter of trade liberalization and supports the security role of the United States in Asia. Of the government`s 31 trade advisory committees, only the laboratory advisory committee did not approve the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. The working committee rejected the proposed free trade agreement (along with the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement) and said it was “repeating the same mistakes of the North American Free Trade Agreement” and would likely lead to “the same deteriorating trade balances, lost jobs, violated rights, and insufficient economic development created by NAFTA.” 42.
(back) The reports are at the U.S. Trade Representative under www.ustr.gov/new/fta/Singapore/advisor_reports.htm see also Trade Reports International Group. Approval of free trade agreements. Washington Trade Daily, Volume 12, No. 44, March 3, 2003. The 31 Trade Policy Advisory Committees bring together more than 700 people representing businesses, workers, environmental groups, consumer groups, national governments and academia. Labour interests also opposed this integrated procurement initiative, as the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement on Labour, the Environment or other provisions of the Free Trade Agreement would not apply to factories located outside Singapore. Nor would Indonesia be required to grant reciprocal access to U.S. companies. In addition, there is concern that the purchase initiative will attract more U.S.
investment to Indonesia in order to take advantage of low labor and other costs. The Estv also specifies that the Contracting Parties must meet within six months of the entry into force of the Agreement to consider the extension of the product coverage covered by the procurement initiative [Article 3.2(2)]. (25) The implementing rules require the approval of the Congress for the extension of the list of products covered by the initiative. Supporters of the U.S.-Singapore free trade agreement say that reducing trade barriers between the two countries will lead to higher exports. The free trade agreement links investor protection to standards developed under customary international law, but environmentalists and business representatives say they differ from what that standard means and whether it sets parameters that exceed or do not exceed the standards of U.S. law (AAA or expedited legislation does not exceed negotiators). . . .