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THE withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a setback for global free trade agenda, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang told Parliament on Monday.
Mr Lim said without the US, the TPP agreement as signed cannot come into effect. However, he said Singapore remains firmly committed to pursuing a rules-based global trading system and achieving greater regional integration.
"We will do our part to ensure that markets remain open, so that companies in Singapore can continue to scale and internationalise,'' Mr Lim said.
He was responding to questions by Members of Parliament (MPs), Ang Wei Neng and Pritam Singh, as well as Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Randolph Tan.
Mr Lim said each TPP partner will now have to carefully study the new balance of benefits without the US' participation, and consider the value of an agreement among the remaining 11 partners. Besides, Singapore, the other TPP partners are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam.
In addition to consulting with other TPP partners to find a mutually beneficial pathway forward, Singapore is also actively engaged in other regional integration initiatives such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), he said.
"We will also continue to work with like-minded partners at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as advocates of a rules-based multilateral trading system."
On the bilateral front, Singapore has an existing network of 21 Free Trade Agreements in force, including with eight TPP countries, and the US.
Mr Lim added that Singapore would also actively pursue other forms of economic cooperation initiatives, including industrial parks and other projects in the region, to create more opportunities for companies to collaborate and grow.
About two thirds of Singapore Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is driven by external demand.