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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 30, 2003

Message to the Congress of the United States

In accordance with sections 2103(a)(1) and 2105(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 2002 (the "Trade Act"), I am pleased to notify the Congress of my intent to enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Government of Singapore.

The Agreement we have negotiated promotes our commitment to secure a level playing field and open new opportunities for America's workers, farmers, businesses, and consumers in global trade. The United States is a party to only three out of more than 200 existing FTAs, leaving Americans at a competitive disadvantage in many markets. With the enactment of Trade Promotion Authority; the completion of this Agreement; ongoing global, regional, and bilateral trade negotiations; and the continued support of the Congress, the United States is reasserting leadership in world trade.

United States leadership in promoting trade liberalization advances our national interests. Free trade promotes our values by encouraging openness, the rule of law, and respect for private property. It builds global prosperity and strengthens security. Free trade employs the power of markets to meet the needs of the poor and has helped lift millions of people out of poverty by putting them on the path to prosperity. In the extended campaign against terrorism, free trade can be an economic ally. By helping to create opportunity and hope in poorer societies, open trade counters those who would destroy rather than create.

Securing open access to markets abroad is vital to the strength and continued growth of the U.S. economy. In the previous decade, exports accounted for 25 percent of our economic growth. They currently support the jobs of more than 12 million Americans.

Singapore is our 11th largest trading partner with total twoway trade in goods and services valued at $38.8 billion in 2001. This FTA will improve opportunities for U.S. exports, growth, and investment, while also providing increased opportunities for the people of Singapore. This Agreement provides for substantial market access across the entire services sector and locks in Singapore's zero tariff rates on goods, including agriculture.

Fair treatment of U.S. goods and services is important to increasing market access. This Agreement has, among other provisions, specific and groundbreaking customs procedures and transparency requirements that will promote efficiency and fairness. It also establishes a secure and predictable legal framework for U.S. investors operating in Singapore.

This is an agreement for the economy of the 21st century. Inventors, performers, authors, and creative enterprises in the United States and Singapore will benefit from enhanced copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, and other intellectual property rights protection. The Agreement also contains state-of-the-art protections for digital products and electronic commerce.

My Administration is committed to moving forward on multiple fronts to advance environmental protection and worker rights in a credible and responsible manner. This Agreement meets the labor and environmental objectives provided by the Congress in the Trade Act.

In sum, free trade is a fundamental source of America's economic vitality. This Agreement will benefit the U.S. economy through both higher-paying jobs created by exports and lower prices paid by consumers. It will strengthen U.S. ties with a valued economic partner and promote America's political and security interests in an important region.

As called for by the Trade Act, I am sending this notification at least 90 days in advance of signing the U.S.Singapore FTA. My Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to develop appropriate legislation to approve and implement this Free Trade Agreement.

January 29, 2003.

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