The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a vital component of the United States' continued involvement in a rapidly shifting Asia, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday.
In a dialogue hosted by US think tank Council on Foreign Relations, Mr Lee reiterated the importance of the wide-ranging free trade pact in underpinning America's rebalancing towards Asia, which US President Barack Obama has made a key pillar of US foreign policy.
Asia "is changing, China is growing, developing, becoming more influential and will become more so by the day," Mr Lee told a 145-strong audience of diplomats, academics and journalists. "It is a region where things are moving and which America is part of and has to engage in actively."
Even as the US currently grapples with foreign policy issues elsewhere - including unfolding crises in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine - Mr Lee said he hoped the TPP, a "serious measure which shows the seriousness" of America's engagement with Asia, remains on the US agenda.
"You have many other issues on your agenda – Iraq preoccupies you, so does Iran, so does Syria, so does Eastern Europe and Ukraine," Mr Lee said at the dialogue.
"But we hope amidst all that... you remember at least once a day that in Asia you have many friends, many interests and many investments," he added. "We hope to deepen that relationship."
Mr Lee also met with US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Tuesday, where they discussed global energy trends and developments as well as ways to strengthen bilateral energy cooperation, including addressing climate change.