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US VP Harris’ Visit to SG: What You Need to Know

Andrea Brankin

CRCE Manager


Singapore may have named an orchid after US Vice President Kamala Harris, but what will bloom from the trip she made here to Singapore? You can watch the entire press conference here, but below is a recap of the important points from their joint press conference with Prime Minister Lee Monday at the Istana.


The current Indo-Pacific relationship

  • Vice President Kamala Harris expressed thanks for the longstanding relations, support partnership and friendship with Singapore, emphasizing the strong relationship between SG and the US

  • Singapore is a key economic partner for the region with the US investing more in Singapore than China, South Korea and India combined

Why now and why Singapore?

  • The relationship between the two countries is not a new thing. Singapore and US have maintained a robust and enduring partnership for 70 years. This year, the two countries celebrate 55 years of diplomatic relations.

  • The VP visit was a follow-up to last month’s visit from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

  • The Vice President emphasized the United States' commitment to Singapore and the region

  • There are strategic and economic stakes in Southeast Asia

  • The two nations share a vision of rules-based order in which countries cooperate and compete peacefully with each other

  • Singapore has also supports a strong US presence in Southeast Asia in these areas:

    • Economics

    • Counter terrorism

    • Military training

    • Scientific break-throughs

    • Cyber security

    • And most recently, Singapore has supported the US stance in Afghanistan


Does the US believe China is gaining influence in Southeast Asia in their absence?

  • Some people believe the US has to play catch-up to China’s growing political and economic influence in Southeast Asia

  • The US has for many years been an important presence in the region through both security and economic engagements

  • The US has been notably absent at a few important regional summits since withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017

  • Monday’s meeting reaffirms the US commitment to Southeast Asia, with Singapore being the lynchpin to strengthening their presence in Southeast Asia and across the Indo-Pacific region

What does an economic partnership with the U.S. look like?

  • Singapore is a key partner for the US globally especially in Asia.

  • Singapore is the second largest Asian investor in US with $65 billion in direct investment

  • Singapore has created 250,000 jobs for the US.

  • 5,500 US companies have offices setup in Singapore

  • The US is the largest foreign direct investor in Singapore, investing a total of $315 Billion USD


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