US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

The United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement was signed May 6, 2003 and ratified by the US House of Representatives on July 24, 2003 by a vote of 272-155. The US Senate ratified the bill on July 31, 2003 by a vote of 66-32. [http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h108-2739] President George W. Bush signed into law the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act on September 3, 2003. [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030903-3.html] The trade pact was implemented by both countries on January 1, 2004.

In addition to lowering of tariffs, the agreement also allowed easier movement of citizens from both countries.

It became possible for some Singaporean citizens the possibility of residing in the United States for extended periods of time. Business people and traders with E1 or E2 visa are allowed a two-year stay period but indefinite extension also allowed. Professionals with H1-B1 visa are allowed to stay for a maximum period of up to 18 months but indefinite extension also allowed. There is an annual quota of 5,400 visa for Singaporeans but this quota has not been reached resulting in transferring the unused quota to the general pool for use by citizens of other countries. [ [http://www.iesingapore.gov.sg/wps/portal/!ut/p/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Y_QjzKLN4g3C_UFSYGY5oFm-pFoYo4YImah3phiIWEIMV-P_NxU_SB9b_0A_YLc0NDQiHJHAAF8_pE!/delta/base64xml/L3dJdyEvd0ZNQUFzQUMvNElVRS82XzBfNlYw Singapore's Official FTA Website ] ]

United States citizens coming to Singapore are allowed to work in most business occupations for 3 months without a visa or Professional Visit Pass.

Views in favor of US-Singapore FTA

Proponents of the US-Singapore FTA claim that the reduction of trade barriers between the two countries will lead to a growth in exports.

* [http://ustr.gov/Trade_Agreements/Bilateral/Singapore_FTA/Section_Index.html USTR Site on Singapore FTA]

Views opposed to the US-Singapore FTA

Opponents of the US-Singapore FTA claimed that it would lead to a worsening of inequality within the two countries, and give expansive new rights to corporations.

* [http://www.citizenstrade.org/singapore.php Citizens' Trade Campaign Site on Singapore FTA]

References

Other References

* [http://www.opencrs.com/document/RS20755/ Congressional Research Service Report on Singapore FTA]
* [http://www.opencrs.com/document/RS21560/ Congressional Research Service Report on "Free Trade Agreements with Singapore and Chile: Labor Issues"]
* [http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/hearing061703.htm U.S. Senate Finance Committee Hearing on US-Singapore FTA]
* [http://waysandmeans.house.gov/hearings.asp?formmode=detail&hearing=70 U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on Singapore FTA]


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