More can be done to boost Singapore-US ties: Outgoing Ambassador Lavin

Original Publication Date: 
11 Ottobre, 2005

SINGAPORE : Singapore and the United States are like-minded countries with a common approach towards trade, political stability and the fight against terror. That is the view of outgoing US Ambassador Frank Lavin, who is returning home. He has been appointed Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

But Mr Lavin says more can still be done, including progress on free trade agreements between ASEAN and the US, and cooperation in areas such as tackling bird flu.

Singapore and the US have always enjoyed a good relationship, especially with the conclusion of the landmark US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, and the Strategic Framework agreement for closer security cooperation.

But he says there is room for even more improvement.

Mr Lavin said: "You do not want to permanently rest on your laurels. We have come a long way and we should look at all these challenges we have, like bird flu.

"We want to see increased economic liberalisation in ASEAN, we might see more movement on ASEAN-US free trade agreements. This will help Singapore as well, and see India come online in the world economy."

It has also been a memorable four years for Mr Lavin in Singapore, including the SARS crisis.

He recalled one tough decision he had to make.

Mr Lavin said: "The US embassies were evacuating people out of China, Vietnam, Toronto. We got a fair amount of voices in the American community saying it is time to signal to evacuate here as well. The only basis for keeping our doors open so to speak was that we had very strong confidence in the Singapore government and leadership."

Going forward, he said the Singapore-US relationship is very friendly and sound - politically, economically and strategically.

He is confident that when his replacement Patricia Herbold takes over next month, she will continue to build on this firm foundation. - CNA/de