Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Donald Trump on Monday (Oct 23, US time) witnessed the signing of an agreement between Singapore Airlines and aircraft manufacturer Boeing to buy 39 aeroplanes, worth close to US$14 billion (S$19 billion).
Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong and Boeing president and CEO Kevin McAllister signed the deal for SIA to buy 20 Boeing 777-9s and 19 787-10 Dreamliners over the next decade.
Mr Trump said the deal would create some 70,000 American jobs.
“We have a very large trading relationship with Singapore,” he said. “I want to thank the Singaporean people for their faith in American engineering,” he added.
The deal is a “win-win for both sides”, PM Lee said, at a joint press conference with Mr Trump. It will further modernise SIA’s fleet, and also support many American jobs, he added.
Under the agreement, the 777-9s are due for delivery from the 2021-22 financial year and the 787-10s for delivery from the 2020-21 financial year.
PM Lee noted that he had a wide-ranging exchange with President Trump.
“We reaffirmed the robust and enduring partnership between Singapore and the United States over the last 51 years,” he said. “It is a deep and wide relationship, with substantial cooperation in the economic, defence and security spheres. We discussed what more we could do to take it forward.”
He has invited Mr Trump to visit Singapore at the earliest opportunity, and said he was glad the president had accepted the invitation.
PM Lee noted that on the economic front, the US is an important partner for many countries in Asia, just as Asia as a whole is an important economic partner for the US.
“Singapore is a small country - we’re just 5.5 million - but we have sizeable investments and trade with the US, which continue to grow,” he added.
It is the second largest Asian investor in the US, with over US$70 billion in stock investments. Total trade in goods and services amounted to more than US$68 billion last year.
The US has consistently run a trade surplus with Singapore, which stood at over $18 billion in 2016.
The US also exported over US$43 billion a year of goods and services to Singapore. This translates to every Singaporean buying $7,500 worth of American goods and services yearly – from iPhones and pharmaceutical products, to tyres and golf clubs, to financial and consultancy services.
PM Lee noted that he, too, recently discovered that his New Balance shoes were made in the US, probably from New England.
Mr Trump said both the US and Singapore share a belief in rule of law and “understand the unmatched power of private enterprise to uplift the human condition”.
He added: “The US-Singapore relationship has made both of our people far more prosperous and secure, and our values have made us longstanding friends. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful and loyal partner.”