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.
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