During his State Visit to the US, Singapore Prime Minister Lee said the following:
“Singapore fervently hopes that the U.S. will stay engaged and maintain its indispensable role in the Asia-Pacific. In particular, we hope, and I’m sure the president shares this hope, that Congress will ratify the TPP soon.”
AmCham Singapore agrees completely. The TPP is not only economically in the US interest, it keeps the US front-and-center as an “indispensable” nation in the Asia Pacific.
In an opinion editorial in the August 24th Straits Times, AmCham Singapore TPP Task Force Chairman Steven Okun, and Task Force member and President of the Asia Trade Center Deborah Elms discuss the economic and strategic imperative of having the US Congress pass this TPP in this session and having President Obama sign in into law.
If this does not happen, those in the region believe it will be years before the US will be prepared to engage with credibility on crafting an amended agreement. As such, the TPP members will look to other agreements in which to advance their economic interests – at the expense of the US’ strategic and economic interest.
Who will step in with the US absence? Three candidates are China, the European Union (EU), and Australia, all of which compete directly with the US in the region. US exporters are keenly aware of the advantages lost to their competition if the US does not move ahead.
From a multilateral perspective, the remaining TPP members will look to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as the next step. This agreement lacks much of what makes the TPP so special – chapters that address 21st century doing business issues. RCEP is missing the US, but does include China, Indonesia, Japan and nearly every other key US trading partner in Asia.
The stakes in ratifying TPP are not just for US businesses and workers to gain the benefits of TPP itself, but also for the United States’ ability to remain competitive and advance our interests in the region. Those of us who live and work in the region know this first-hand.
AmCham Singapore urges the US Congress must pass the TPP in this session.
Click here for a link to the AmCham Position Paper.
Click here for a link to the Op-Ed in the Straits Times.