U.s.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

As has already been said in this report, the integrated initiative on sourcing has also sparked some discussion. This is the extent to which certain duty-free computer products and medical devices can be considered Singaporean. Since the items are already duty-free, the ISI would allow them to avoid U.S. tariffs of about 0.23% of the value of imports. The initiative targeted two Indonesian islands where many Singaporean producers source components. Indonesian producers would not be covered by the labour, environmental and other provisions of the free trade agreement. Nor would Indonesia be required to provide reciprocal access to its markets. One of the concerns was that other countries, such as China, could also use this provision to ship products to the U.S. via Singapore to avoid U.S.

tariffs. Some languages removed from the final text of the free trade agreement seem to solve this problem. To reap the benefits of the ISI, a third country would have to send a qualified product from the United States to Singapore for inclusion in a product subject to the regional content requirement, and then be returned to the United States. The USTR asserts that the free trade agreement fulfills the labor and environmental goals set by Congress in the TPA legislation. The TPA (P.L. 107-210) sets work and environmental objectives for trade negotiations (Section 2102(b)(11)). This includes ensuring that a contracting party to a trade agreement with the United States does not fail to effectively enforce its environmental or labour laws through persistent or recurrent approach or inaction in a manner that affects trade between the United States; strengthen the capacity of U.S. trading partners to promote compliance with core labor standards; and strengthen the capacity of U.S. trading partners to protect the environment by promoting sustainable development. Some argue that the free trade agreement does not achieve these objectives.

Intellectual property rights (IPR). (Chapter 16) According to the United States…