The President`s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act contained certain consultation and notification requirements for international trade agreements to be reviewed by Congress in an expedited manner. The United States has already concluded free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Israel and Jordan and is negotiating free trade agreements with Central America, Australia, Morocco, the Customs Union for Southern Africa and Bahrain. The United States is also a member of APEC, an organization that pursues free trade and investment in the Pacific, and has negotiated with 33 other countries in the Western Hemisphere for the establishment of a free trade area in the United States. Given the tendency to negotiate more free trade agreements, the agreement with Singapore would give Singapore a status substantially identical to that of other nations that already benefit (or could benefit from it) from free trade with the United States. The trade agreement will also support regional activities and business supply chains in the UK and Singapore. The text of e-commerce contained in the free trade agreement links a number of commitments that are no longer voluntary or temporary within the World Trade Organization. It reaffirms that all service obligations under the agreement also apply to the electronic provision of services such as financial services provided on the internet. For the most part, both parties agreed on the non-discriminatory treatment of digital products and on the permanent duty-free status of products supplied in electronic form. This is the first time such commitments have been included in an international trade agreement and it can set a precedent for liberalization efforts in the services sector at the WTO and other free trade agreements. Almost all remaining tariffs will be abolished by 21 November 2024, similar to the EU-Singapore free trade agreement, MTI added. Singapore will continue to commit its current level of duty-free access under the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement for all UK products entering the country.
The aim of the agreement is to improve the availability and access to commercial financing options for businesses in both countries, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a press release issued on Wednesday morning (16 December). Negotiations on the free trade agreement between the United States and Singapore began during the Clinton administration in December 2000 (4) and continued under the G.W. Bush administration. The free trade agreement was the fifth such agreement signed by the United States and the first with an Asian country. It continues the two governments` initiative to open markets abroad to exports and activities of U.S. companies. The Clinton administration highlighted U.S. access to “major emerging economies"; The Bush administration emphasized the “competitive liberalization" strategy, itself based on a general business philosophy that links an international economic policy of free enterprise to the United States.