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US, Singapore Sign Free Trade Agreement - 2003-05-06

The United States and Singapore have signed a free trade agreement. This the first such pact the United States has signed with an Asian country.

President Bush and Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong signed the agreement at a ceremony at the White House.

President Bush hailed the trade deal and praised Singapore as a country that has embraced economic freedom.

"Singapore has set an example for its neighbors in the world in the transforming power of freedom and open markets," he said.

He said the deal will benefit both countries. It adds Singapore, a city-state of about four million people, to the short list of countries that have free trade arrangements with the United States: Mexico, Canada, Israel and Jordan.

"Singapore is a nation that is small in size but large in influence," the president said. "With this agreement, Singapore becomes an even more valued economic partner of the United States."

Mr. Bush praised Singapore, not just for its commitment to free trade but its support for the war on terrorism.

Prime Minister Goh promised continued cooperation on both fronts. He said the trade pact, the result of about two and a half years of negotiations, is ambitious and comprehensive. And he urged the United States to seek similar pacts with other countries in Southeast Asia.