Singapore remains committed to ratifying TPP: MTI

US President Barack Obama holds meeting with Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) leaders at the APEC Summit November 19, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore remains committed to working with other countries to "find a way forward" to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) even as United States President-elect Donald Trump moves to dump the deal, the MTI said.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) was responding to The Straits Times queries on Mr Trump's pledge to issue a note of intent on his first day office on Jan 20 for the US to leave the TPP, a 12-nation Asia-Pacific free trade pact that took the Obama administration seven years to negotiate.

Calling the TPP a "high quality free trade agreement that will promote growth opportunities and job creation" in the member countries, MTI said that member countries of the TPP had met at the sidelines of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and agreed that the "fundamental rationale for the TPP has not changed".

"We respect the position of the incoming US administration. In the meantime, the other partners are looking to continue with domestic efforts to ratify the TPP," an MTI spokesman said.

"Singapore and the US are like-minded partners, who share robust and long-standing bilateral economic relations. The US enjoys a healthy trade surplus with Singapore, and our companies have created good jobs in both countries. Singapore looks forward to working constructively together with the US to strengthen our partnership and increase mutual benefits for our businesses and people," MTI added.

Mr Trump had called the TPP a "potential disaster" for the US, and pledged to negotiate "fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back on to American shores".

His move may cost the US its leadership status in the Asia Pacific as it may give China an opening in the region. Already, China has been intensifying its push for a regional trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which excludes the US.

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