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U.S. Companies Can Grow Their Business in Southeast Asia Thanks to New Agreements with Singapore

December 7, 2018

Margaret Hanson-Muse is the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for Singapore and ASEAN.

The Commercial Service team in Singapore has developed several new agreements with Singapore leaders that will help U.S. companies grow their business in the Indo-Pacific, particularly in the region known as ASEAN—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. With a combined population of 647 million people, a burgeoning middle class, and a young and growing population, the ASEAN region presents tremendous commercial opportunities for U.S. companies.

On September 13, Under Secretary for International Trade Gil Kaplan signed Statements of Intent on behalf of the International Trade Administration (ITA) with the Singapore Business Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation to forge closer ties between U.S. and Singaporean companies and to facilitate ASEAN regional outreach in key areas such as energy, smart cities, aerospace, fintech, and standards.

Meeting in Singapore

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Southeast Asia Executive Director John Goyer, Singapore Business Federation President Ho Meng Kit, and Under Secretary for International Trade Gil Kaplan celebrate the signing of an industry statement of intent on September 13 in Singapore.

On November 16, Vice President Pence and Singapore Prime Minister Lee met in Singapore and announced a two-year government-to-government (G2G) commercial collaboration framework led by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry. The G2G framework reinforces commitments made in September by U.S. and Singaporean industry leaders and encourages U.S. and Singaporean companies to explore cooperative opportunities in Southeast Asia and other relevant third-country markets. The framework prioritizes collaboration on infrastructure, energy, standards, smart cities, fintech, e-commerce, and deep technology.

A major goal of the framework is to foster links between U.S. and Singaporean companies, including in rapidly developing fields such as additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), blockchain, and driverless cars. The benefits of the framework are expected to extend beyond Singapore to include U.S. business partners and consumers in the broader ASEAN and Indo-Pacific regions, including through U.S. support for the newly established ASEAN Smart Cities Network.

Vice President Pence with Singapore Prime Minister Lee during his November 2018 visit to Singapore for the ASEAN and East Asia Summits where they jointly announced a commercial collaboration memorandum of understanding.

Vice President Pence with Singapore Prime Minister Lee during his November 2018 visit to Singapore for the ASEAN and East Asia Summits where they jointly announced a commercial collaboration memorandum of understanding.

Our team is busy implementing the new agreements with Singapore, including through support for these recent and upcoming activities:

  • A September 2018 best practices business roundtable on medical technology standards and certification processes led by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation;
  • ASTM International’s October 2018 announcement that Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) will join ASTM’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence as a strategic partner;
  • An October 2018 memorandum of understanding on additive manufacturing standards between NAMIC and the Ivaldi Group (San Leandro, California), building on previous Access Asia outreach in California;
  • A strategic partnership launched in October 2018 between ITA and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), a global codes, standards, and conformity assessment organization, which will support the development of smart city-related standards throughout Southeast Asia;
  • Participation by ITA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan in the November 12-16 Singapore FinTech Festival, where he met with U.S. companies displaying their products and services at ITA’s U.S. Pavilion and spoke on a panel on Blockchain Opportunities and Threats;

    Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan (fourth from left) is joined by U.S. Commercial Service staff at the November 2018 FinTech Festival in Singapore.

    Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan (fourth from left) is joined by U.S. Commercial Service staff at the November 2018 FinTech Festival in Singapore.

  • A U.S. Country Showcase in Singapore featured November 12-15 at the ASEAN and East Asia Summit Meetings, highlighting innovative technology, service, and standards solutions from U.S. firms;
  • Plans to support 45 U.S. companies participating in the November 27-29 OSEA Show in Singapore, which is the largest and most significant buying event in Asia for the oil and gas sectors; and
  • Plans to develop a U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Network Partnership event in 2019 in close coordination with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Department of State, and other interagency partners.

Please Share Your Feedback! Welcoming Industry and Stakeholder Ideas to Maximize the Value of the New Agreements

While these steps are a good start, I welcome your ideas on how to maximize the value of these new agreements with government and industry leaders—including through trade events, best practices workshops, business-to-business matchmaking, educational webinars, and other activities that help identify and advance commercial deals. I encourage you to contact me at Margaret.Hanson-Muse@trade.gov or (65) 6476-9037 to share your ideas and to continue the conversation.

Click here for details about the December 10-12, 2018 Discover Global Markets aerospace and defense show in Salt Lake City, Utah. Click here for details about the May 6-13, 2019 Indo-Pacific Trade Winds event in New Delhi, India with optional stops in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Participating companies can get country-specific business counseling from Asia-based commercial officers.