SINGAPORE - Singapore has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United States to deepen economic cooperation and extend trade financing and investment support to their respective companies.
The MOU aims to improve the availability of and access to trade financing options for companies from both countries, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a press release on Wednesday morning (Dec 16).
This will help remedy the global tightening of credit following the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, said MTI. It will also facilitate bilateral trade in goods and services to enhance growth opportunities.
The US is Singapore's largest foreign investor, while Singapore was the fourth largest Asian investor in the US in 2019.
The MOU also seeks to strengthen cooperation in investment promotion and provide opportunities for both countries to explore the use of technology such as fintech to address new trade financing and investment challenges.
The agreement was signed by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
"As like-minded partners, Singapore and the US are committed to supporting our businesses as they respond to the global economic disruptions caused by Covid-19," said Mr Chan.
He added: "Through this MOU, we will facilitate company investments into Singapore and the US, and help businesses access more trade financing facilities. We also look forward to catalysing greater trade and investment flows between the US, Singapore, and South-east Asia, and enabling our companies to continue trading and accessing opportunities in these challenging times."
Mr Ross said the US and Singapore "have enjoyed more than 50 years of official partnership since we established diplomatic ties in 1966".
The MOU, he added, will help Singapore importers finance the purchase of US exports and support Singapore investors looking at opportunities in the US.
The renewable, two-year MOU will be overseen by MTI and the US Department of Commerce. It will be supported by implementing agencies such as Enterprise Singapore, the Export-Import Bank of the US and the US Commercial Service in Singapore.
"The MOU is the latest tangible result of the robust economic and investment partnership between the US and Singapore," said MTI in the statement.
The agreement made in the final weeks of US President Donald Trump's administration comes after Singapore last week signed a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom, the first such deal between Britain and an Asean member state.