As noted in the above textile and clothing provisions, the agreement provides rules of origin to ensure that only products from the United States and Singapore benefit from the agreement (Chapter 3). These rules are considered essential, given that Singapore is a major transshipment port and also imports large quantities of primary and intermediate products that will then be part of the exported goods. Only high-processing and value-added exports to Singapore can be described as “Singapore origin” and can be considered free trade rights. The ESTV links investor protection to standards developed under international customary law, but environmentalists and business representatives differ from what this standard means and whether it defines parameters that exceed or do not exceed the standard in U.S. law (TPA or quasi-track legislative negotiators). With respect to indirect expropriation, the free trade agreement contains the test used by the U.S. Supreme Court for the acquisition of regulations. The Singapore Free Trade Agreement differs from the various clarifications made to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because it requires Singapore and the United States to treat investors in accordance with “international law” and not “international law.” This is the wording of NAFTA, which has been read by NAFTA participants to include obligations under other international agreements such as the World Trade Organization. Such interpretations are explicitly rejected in the Singapore Free Trade Agreement by the insertion of a text stating that a violation of other provisions of the free trade agreement or other international agreements does not constitute a violation of the minimum standard of treatment. The ESTV also contains language derived from the NAFTA clarification, which states that the minimum international standard for the treatment of foreigners is the standard to which investors must be recognized and that the obligations of the agreement to ensure “fair and equitable” treatment and “total protection and security” do not create material obligations beyond that standard. (27) The other 30 advisory committees, including the Trade and Environmental Policy Advisory Committee, approved (or were neutral) in the agreement, although there were differences of opinion and reservations about certain provisions. (42) The important trade and negotiation policy advisory committee strongly supported the agreement and stated that it believed that the free trade agreement strongly promoted the economic interests of the United States and essentially met the broad objectives and negotiating objectives set out in the 2002 Trade Act. However, the workers` representative on this committee disputed and stated that he had not met the objectives in a number of areas, including work and the environment.
The free trade agreement between the United States and Singapore is of interest to Congress because (1) it required congressional approval through expedited legislative procedures, in accordance with P.L. 107-210, which granted the President the Trade Promotion Authority; (2) it continues the trend towards greater trade liberalization and globalization; (3) contains a new approach to dealing with environmental and labour disputes; (4) it may affect certain trade streams which, in turn, would affect U.S. firms, including competing import industries, such as electronic equipment and other machinery; and (5) Parts of the free trade agreement can serve as a model for agreements with other nations. Some of the specific issues in the free trade agreement are also controversial. In addition to the aforementioned rules of origin, there may be other ways to qualify your product: the United States has already concluded free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Israel and Jordan and is negotiating free trade agreements with Central America, Australia, Morocco, customs union p