The Politics of Singapore’s Bilateral Free Trade Agreements: Enlightened Self-interest to Promote East Asian Regionalism in the New Millennium?
With total international trade three and a half times that of its gross domestic product (GDP), Singapore has been a natural and ardent advocate and supporter of free trade. For the trade-dependent city-state, it would be ideal if multilateral forums, notably the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, could lay down the framework for international trade liberalization. However, as noted by many, multilateral negotiations and processes had failed to make much progress by the late 1990s. Singapore has thus been contemplating alternative strategies to boost trade, or for that matter, investments, in its perennial quest for trade liberalization. The country’s main strategy as adopted in the new millennium has been to actively pursue Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), especially bilateral ones, with an extensive network of trading partners.
KeywordsPrime Minister World Trade Organization Trade Liberalization Free Trade Agreement Gulf Cooperation Council
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