Singapore is a close strategic partner of the United States across a range of developmental, economic, people-to-people and security issues. We maintain this close relationship in regional multilateral fora such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the East Asia Summit (EAS) to support regional integration, prosperity, and security. We are building on the strong foundation of our bilateral Free Trade Agreement in negotiating a successful outcome for the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
Bilateral trade in 2011 exceeded $50 billion, making Singapore the United States’ 15th largest trading partner and 11th largest export market. Cumulative U.S. investment in Singapore is over $116 billion while Singapore has $22 billion of foreign direct investment in the United States. Approximately 1,500 American companies use Singapore as a regional base for Asian operations, contributing to job creation and economic development in Singapore and the United States.
Our people-to-people relationships are also strong with 25,000 U.S. citizens residing in Singapore and a similar number of Singaporeans in the United States. A broad range of State Department exchange programs are building academic, professional, and cultural ties between our citizens. In addition, formal educational links are growing, as numerous U.S. universities establish satellite campuses in Singapore.
The United States-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue, announced in 2012, introduced new mechanisms to further strengthen our cooperation to support regional development. Our multifaceted cooperation includes the Third Country Training Program (TCTP), a joint technical assistance program for developing countries in the region, including in the Lower Mekong area. The first projects under this program have focused on training officials in the Lower Mekong region in the areas of environment, health, urban planning, and disaster management.
The United States and Singapore enjoy a close security relationship. Bilateral defense cooperation has deepened since the signing of the Strategic Framework Agreement in 2005, and both militaries interact regularly through joint exercises, operations, training and technological collaboration. Starting in 2013, Singapore will host the first of up to four United States’ Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) on a rotational basis. The LCS will strengthen U.S. engagement in the region, through port calls and interaction with regional navies.