The Republic remains committed to working together with other countries on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal to “find a way forward”, a Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) spokesperson said on Wednesday (Nov 23).
MTI was responding to TODAY’s queries on comments made on Tuesday by American President-elect Donald Trump that he will withdraw the United States from the TPP on his first day in the White House.
Reiterating that the TPP is a “high-quality free-trade agreement that will promote growth opportunities and job creation in the member countries”, the MTI spokesperson noted that leaders of the countries that are part of the TPP had recently met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting, “where parties agreed that the fundamental rationale for the TPP has not changed”.
The spokesperson said that Singapore respects the position of the incoming US administration. “In the meantime, the other partners are looking to continue with domestic efforts to ratify the TPP,” the spokesperson added.
Mr Trump’s announcement, which came barely a day after Asia-Pacific leaders pledged on the sidelines of Apec to push ahead with the ratification process, effectively signalled the death knell of the trade pact, which regional leaders have been scrambling to rescue.
Prior to Mr Trump’s comments, there had been hopeful speculation about whether he would unravel his campaign promise to renegotiate the treaty that he says does not benefit ordinary Americans.
“I am going to issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country,” Mr Trump had said in a short video message outlining priorities of his first 100 days and executive actions to be taken “on day one”.
“Instead, we will negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores,” he said. International leaders have reacted with disappointment to the announcement, while expressing hope that the Trump administration would be willing to explore other options for free trade.
The MTI spokesperson noted that Singapore and the US are “like-minded partners, who share robust and long-standing bilateral economic relations”.
“The US enjoys a healthy trade surplus with Singapore, and our companies have created good jobs in both countries,” said the spokesperson. “Singapore looks forward to working constructively together with the US to strengthen our partnership and increase mutual benefits for our businesses and people.”