February 16, 2015—Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan speaking with Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam.
On Monday, a congressional delegation led by Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) held meetings in Singapore, the first of three Asian nations the group will visit on the week-long trip.
Singapore is one of the United States’s strongest partners in the region, and the two nations maintain an important economic and national-security relationship. The country is also playing a critical role in bringing the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to a successful conclusion.
In Singapore, the delegation met with senior government officials, including Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam, Trade Minister Lim Hng Kiang, and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
The members reaffirmed the United States’s goal to achieve a high-standard TPP agreement in the near term, and they encouraged the government of Singapore to use its leadership position in the region to help meet that goal. The delegation impressed upon the officials the importance of issues like strong intellectual-property protections, increased access for American agriculture and disciplining state-owned enterprises.
The group told the Singaporean leaders that Congress remains fully committed to robust U.S. engagement with Southeast Asia, underscoring the significant economic and geopolitical issues at stake. An increased American economic presence in the region would provide a valuable alternative to nations like China.
In addition, the delegation expressed thanks to the government of Singapore for its contributions to the world community’s effort to defeat ISIL.
Members also congratulated Singapore on the country’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebration.
Also on Monday, the delegation met with representatives from American companies and expats doing business in Singapore. At a lunch with the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, the business leaders spoke to the importance of completing a strong TPP agreement to American job creators.
The goal of the delegation’s trip is to advance the American trade agenda and strengthen ties between the U.S. and the Asian nations. Members of the delegation visiting Asia are Chairman Ryan, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Rep.Charles Boustany (R-LA), Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE).