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US-Singapore Trade Relations: Maintaining a Diplomatic Alliance
Starting a Friendship

The Singapore Republic is an independent nation in the Southeast Asian Region. It is situated off the tip of the Malay Peninsula and connected to Malaysia by a bridge. Its location is said to be strategic thus leading to favorable results in its economy. It has a very outstanding natural harbor which makes it a port for several trade relations.

Traditionally, Singapore was a center for transshipment. However, during the early part of the 20th century, it had to export rubber and tin from Malaysia. These were processed to produce primary goods. The industries in the land prospered with petroleum refining, rubber processing and the manufacturing of drilling equipment topping the list. Other industries were geared on food and beverages and electronics. Since its independence, Singapore became a center for financial trade. Its port is also considered as one of the largest not only in the Asian continent but in the world as a whole. This led to new industries on shipbuilding ad ship repair. Because of a very prosperous economy, Singapore enjoys its standing in the international trade scene.

Singapore's economy is evidenced by a trade surplus. This is a good proof that it had outstanding trade relations with its partners in global business. One of its largest foreign trading partners is the United States. Their diplomatic alliance with each other began since Singapore's declaration of independence in the year 1965. This Asian nation focused on maintaining political and economic stability in consonance with the policy practiced by the United States. With this fact, they were able to solidify their relations with each other.

These two nations enjoy a very warm and close friendship. The ties that bind them include that of a bilateral agreement. On the Singaporean's side, they consider US as a very significant partner. The latter, on the other hand had also looked upon the capabilities of Singapore when it comes to global trade. At present, the bond is fortified and the alliance is growing even stronger.

Major Exports and Imports Between Singapore and the US

Singapore's major exports to other countries in world trade are machinery and equipment including electronics, consumer goods, minerals, chemicals and fuel. Its primary export partners are Malaysia, US, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Thailand and Australia. The major imports of Singapore from other nations are machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, foodstuffs and chemicals. The primary import partners are Malaysia, US, China, Japan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. On both trading sides, the United States ranks second among Singapore's trade partners.

Since the alliance of the two nations had been very strong, a lot of facts were seen to support their trading system. For the ten-month period commencing from January 2008 to October 2008, the US Census Bureau had tracked the balance of trade between US and Singapore. In relation to its trade with Singapore, US exports amounted to a hefty $25.07 billion while US imports is not far behind at $13.61 billion. In the year 2007, the said US agency had the following statistics available:

  • Singaporean Exports to US. The total for 2007 for the goods entering US from Singapore was approximately $18.40 billion. Out of this total amount, computer accessories, peripherals and parts led the charts with a total of $4.85 billion which is equivalent to 26.36% of the export total. Included on top of the list were: medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations; semiconductors and related devices; US goods returned and reimports; clocks, portable typewriter and other household goods; industrial organic chemicals; other scientific, medical and hospital equipment; telecommunications equipment; electric apparatus and parts; and other industrial machinery. Other industrial machinery made sales amounting to $290.39 million which is 1.58% of the year's entire total.
  • Singaporean Imports from US. For Singapore's imports from US, 2007's total was $26.28 billion. Semiconductors led the rest of the group with a very remarkable amount of $4.24 billion which is equivalent to 16.13% of the year's total. Joining semiconductors on the charts were: civilian aircraft engines; fuel oil; civilian aircraft; computer accessories; drilling and oilfield equipment; civilian aircraft parts; organic chemicals; and measuring, testing and control instruments. The last items made sales amounting to $814.35 million which is approximately 3.10% of the year's total.
  • Fastest-Growing US Exports to Singapore. Singapore sold US products very well in the market. As proof to this, many of the goods were sold at a very remarkable increase from 2006. Topping the list were soybeans with sales of $8.20 million. This is recorded to be 1,116% higher than the sales it made in 2006. Other noteworthy products in the list were: military tracks and armored vehicles; unmanufactured tobacco; bodies and chassis for passenger cars; and oilseeds and food oils. Oil seeds and food oils made as much as $19.03 million which is around 339.17% higher than the sales it made in 2006.
  • Fastest-Growing US Imports from Singapore. The commodities entering the US grounds from Singapore made their own stint in the market as well. As evidence to this, unmanufactured steelmaking and ferroalloying materials made as much as $719 thousand which was equivalent to an increase of 1,467% from 2007. Aside from these goods, other remarkable products were: nontextile floor and wall tiles and other covering; dairy products and eggs; feedstuff and food grains; and other precious metals. Other precious metals joined the top five because of a sales increase from 2006 by 592.64% with a total amount of $25.29 million.
US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

The free trade agreement between the two nations paved the way to the essence of the relationship. In one way or the other, the pact contributed to the positioning of these two nations in global business. As they gratify each other's involvement in their respective economies, they came up with the idea of making this trade agreement.

This trade agreement is considered to be one of the most recent pacts that the US had entered into with another nation. The signing took place on May 6, 2003 and was enforced in July 2004. Despite this, it became a pattern for other pacts made by the American government with the members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). This is because the fruits of their investment had been seen in as early as one year of having the pact in existence. It was a clear manifestation of the different trade concerns of the two nations which specifically includes the following:

  • On Friendship and Cooperation. The history of the friendship between America and Singapore was further ignited in this pact. The FTA provided for conquering threats of the new era while the two nations stand side-by-side. They both believed that a free enterprise should open new doors for their nationals and their respective firms. This is also a way of creating more opportunities for millions of people.
  • On Economy. A good friendship and cooperation leads the way to a better economy. No country will exist without having an ally in another nation. The FTA enforced by US and Singapore created more room for trading concerns. This lead to a transformation of open markets and economic freedom. Service providers and investors were given the chance to transport products from the Asian country to the US and vise versa.
Security Threat on Singapore

The bombing of the twin towers on September 11, 2001 created a lot of fuss to other nations. As the US government wanted to enjoin a lot of countries in its quest against terror, some nations were hesitant to take part on it. This was basically due to the fact that there were some doubts and worries running in the minds of the different governments in the world.

Aside from the concepts and assurances discussed by Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Daley to the Center on International Cooperation in 2004, the threats of the 9/11 attacks were also included in the statement. Singapore was one of the Asian nations responsive to the plea of the US to set a war against terrorism. This created fear in some of the citizens of the country especially that they feel that somebody will attack hem on their way to work and school and even while they are in the comfort of their own homes. In the said discussion, Mr. Daley reiterated that no such harm shall be inflicted since protecting their allies is their main concern.

Lessons of the Past Leading to the Future

Despite the sentiments of a few men regarding the remnants of the 9/11, the struggle had been surpassed. The United States and Singapore held hands and became more unified as two foreign trade partners. It was after the bombings of the World Trade Center that the US-Singapore FTA was made, hence signaling a road to the future.

There are different lessons learned from the bombings and the trade agreement. On a lighter note, there is a belief in the capacity of every nation to form and maintain good relations with one another. There is also that desire to overcome the differences on perspectives of Republicans and Democrats. Furthermore, the businesses of Singapore and US will carry them to the future for their upcoming generations to be proud of.

US-Singapore Trade References

Note: Trade statistics, industry links, economic projections and global business resources on this page have been compiled from hundreds of trade related websites, government guides and resources on the Internet. We provide this valuable information for industrial suppliers, manufacturers, exporters and importers seeking to enter or expland business opportunities in Singapore.

Market Research

Singapore's small, open economy, while very modern and internationally competitive, is nevertheless very vulnerable to external shocks because the value of its exports is much larger than its GDP and about two-thirds of its industrial output is exported. The country consistently ranks high among 'most attractive countries for international business' and has achieved a per capita GDP level comparable to levels of developed western nations.

Primary Trading Partners

Major Goods Exported

Major Goods Imported

Industrial Outlook

Singapore's main industries include electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling equipment, petroleum refining, rubber processing and rubber products, processed food and beverages, ship repair, entrepot trade, and biotechnology.

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