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November 17, 2007

 ASEAN-US : Trade
US Trade Representative Schwab to meet ASEAN ministers in Singapore

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab will visit Singapore from 18-19 November to meet ASEAN's economic ministers and discuss progress made under the US-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
According to Ms Schwab, ASEAN countries together are the US' fifth largest trading partner, and Southeast Asia is one of the most rapidly growing, economically vibrant regions in the world.
Ms Schwab says she looks forward to her first formal meeting with the ASEAN ministers.
The US Trade Representative will also discuss with her counterparts from Japan and Korea how best to advance the WTO Doha negotiations.
The United States says it is committed to achieving a successful outcome to these negotiations, which will create significant new economic opportunities and growth worldwide.
In addition, Ms Schwab will use the meetings to underscore US concerns about the situation in Myanmar and its failure to make a serious commitment to a meaningful and time-bound dialogue towards national reconciliation and a peaceful transition to civilian democratic rule.
The US Embassy in Singapore says Ms Schwab will urge key players in Southeast Asia to step up pressure on Myanmar to come to the negotiating table.

In a separate statement, Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) says the visiting US Trade Representative will attend a luncheon with the ASEAN economic ministers on Monday to discuss ways to further strengthen US-ASEAN economic cooperation.
She will also hold bilateral discussions with some of her counterparts and meet US business representatives in Singapore.
MTI says the US is a key economic partner for Singapore, being the city state's second largest trading partner last year.
The US was also Singapore's second largest foreign investor, with foreign direct investments amounting to S$42 billion as at end 2005.
MTI stresses that the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA) is a key cornerstone of the robust bilateral economic relations and since the entry into force of the Agreement on 1 January 2004, bilateral trade has increased by 40 percent to reach about S$90 billion last year.

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