U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

Reports and Statistics

Commentary: The U.S.-Singapore FTA went into effect on January 1, 2004.  It was the first U.S. FTA signed with an Asian nation and the first FTA signed by President George W. Bush.  The FTA resulted in immediate zero tariffs on all U.S. products. 

Before and After the U.S.-Singapore FTA:

  • Overall Trade in Goods between the United States and Singapore was $35.7 billion in 2005, an increase of 2.24% over 2004.  Trade in 2004, the first full year of implementation, was $34.9 billion, an increase of 10.3% over 2003’s trade of $31.6 billion.
  • U.S. exports to Singapore grew to $20.6 billion in 2005 compared to $19.6 billion in 2004, a 5.3% increase.  U.S. exports to Singapore in 2004 increased 18.8% over 2003’s $16.5 billion. 
  • U.S. imports from Singapore decreased to $15.1 billion in 2005 from $15.3 billion in 2004, a 1.6% decrease.  U.S. imports in 2003, prior to the FTA implementation, were $15.1 billion.  
  • The U.S. trade surplus with Singapore tripled during the first year of FTA implementation, reaching $4.3 billion in 2004, and $5.5 billion in 2005.
  • In 2005, Singapore was our 11th largest trading partner (exports and imports combined).
  • Singapore ranks 2nd on the World Bank Group’s Index on “Ease of Doing Business in 2006,” one position above the United States and just below New Zealand.

Benefits of the FTA:

Investment: The U.S.– Singapore FTA prohibits imposing performance-related requirements in connection with the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, sale or other disposition of an investment.  Singapore has a generally open investment regime, and no overarching screening process for foreign investment. Singapore places no restrictions on reinvestment or repatriation of earnings and capital.  However, Singapore maintains limits on foreign investment in broadcasting, the news media, domestic retail banking, property ownership, and some government-linked companies. Data on US FDI into Singapore has been largely suppressed to avoid disclosure of data of individual companies; Singapore FDI into US totaled $840 million in 2004.

Services: The U.S. – Singapore FTA reflects a substantial advance beyond Singapore’s commitments on services trade under the WTO Agreement on Trade and Services.  The FTA guarantees U.S. firms enhanced access to key services markets in Singapore, particularly in the financial services, express delivery, and professional services sectors, and locks in current open access in other key services markets such as telecommunications.

Government Procurement: Singapore’s government procurement process is generally open, though the FTA provides additional government procurement access to U.S. firms by expanding the contracts that are subject to FTA disciplines.

IPR: In line with its FTA commitments, Singapore has developed one of the strongest IPR regimes in Asia.  Amendments to the Trademarks Act and the Patents Act, a new Plant Varieties Protection Act, and a new Manufacture of Optical Discs Act came into effect in July 2004.  Amended Copyright and Broadcasting Acts came into effect in January 2005, and further amendments to the Copyright Act came into effect in August 2005.  Singapore is also a signatory to the major international IPR agreements administered by the WIPO, which opened Secretariat offices in Singapore in June 2005. 

Prepared by the International Trade Administration
Market Access and Compliance, Summer 2006