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U.S., Singapore Finalize Free Trade Agreement
Washington, DC, January 21, 2003 - U.S. trade negotiators have finalized a free trade agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and Singapore that, among other things, liberalizes Singapore’s staffing requirements for U.S. asset management firms seeking to provide asset management services in Singapore.
Under the FTA — the first between the U.S. and an Asian country — an affiliate of a U.S. asset management firm will now need only one portfolio manager and two other professional staff in Singapore to manage Singapore’s Central Provident Fund. The agreement also eliminates minimum staffing requirements for affiliates of U.S. asset management firms seeking to manage other types of assets.
Singapore has also made a binding commitment to permit U.S. firms to provide portfolio management services to Singaporean mutual funds from outside the country. This provision will allow a U.S. firm that establishes an affiliate in Singapore to enter the local mutual fund market to use the services of affiliates outside Singapore to provide portfolio management to Singaporean mutual funds.
Besides the market access commitments, the Singapore regulatory authorities committed to using open and transparent administrative procedures, consultations with interested parties before issuing regulations, advance notice and comment periods for proposed rules, and publication of all regulations.
The U.S. and Singapore also reached agreement on capital restrictions, allowing for the free transfer of capital and legal protection for U.S. investors if restrictions on capital are imposed.