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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
SINGAPORE: 1994 COUNTRY REPORT ON ECONOMIC POLICY AND TRADE PRACTICES
BUREAU OF ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS





                            SINGAPORE

                     Key Economic Indicators
        (Millions of U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted)


                                    1992      1993      1994 1/

Income, Production and Employment:

Real GDP (1985 prices) 2/         39,761    44,072    51,301
Real GDP Growth (pct.) 2/            6.0       9.9       9.5
GDP (at current prices) 2/        48,547    55,085    66,462
By Sector:  (1985 prices)
  Agriculture                        100        98       111
  Energy/Water                       831       898     1,598
  Manufacturing                   10,981    12,161    14,659
  Construction                     2,707     2,947     3,510
  Rents                              N/A       N/A       N/A
  Commerce                         7,218     7,892     9,061
  Transport/Communications         5,843     6,453     7,573
  Financial/Business Services     10,391    11,849     3,868
  Government/Health/Education/
    Other Services                 4,053     4,315     4,839
  Net Exports of Goods & Services  1,164       512     4,104
Real Per Capita GDP               12,504    13,519     15,360
Labor Force (000s)                 1,620     1,634     1,675
Unemployment (pct.)                  2.7       2.7       2.1

Money and Prices:  (annual percentage growth)

Money Supply (M2)                    8.9       8.5      12.0
Base Interest Rate 3/                5.6       5.3       5.9
Personal Saving Rate 3/              1.8       1.6      2.15
Retail Inflation 4/                 -6.8      -3.8      -3.2
Consumer Price Index                 2.3       2.4       4.0
Exchange Rate (SD/USD)              1.63      1.62      1.52

Balance of Payments and Trade:

Total Exports (FOB) 5/            40,723    44,661    58,311
  Exports to U.S.                 11,234    12,744    14,656
Total Imports (CIF) 5/            49,427    57,881    64,573
  Imports from U.S.                8,949    10,655    12,897
Aid from U.S.                          0         0         0
Aid from Other Countries               0         0         0
External Public Debt                14.9       7.2       3.0
Debt Service Payments               10.6      10.2       3.6
Gold and Foreign Exch. Reserves   40,386    48,191    53,145
Trade Balance 5/                  -5,782    -8,066    -3,820
  Trade Balance with U.S.          1,497     1,932     2,332


N/A--Not available.

1/ Data for 1994 estimated based on first half of 1994 data and
current expectations for second half of 1994.
2/ Based on market prices, factor cost data not available.  
Growth is based on local currency to remove exchange rate
effect.
3/ Average of rates quoted by 10 leading banks.
4/ Based on retail sales.
5/ Merchandise trade.



1.  General Policy Framework

    Sitting astride one of the major shipping lanes of the
world, Singapore has long adopted export-oriented free-market
economic policies that encourage two-way flows of trade and
investment.  These policies have allowed this small country to
develop one of the world's most successful open trading and
investment regimes.  Over the past decade real GDP grew at
average annual rate of seven percent; 1993's economic growth
rate was 9.9 percent.  Singapore actively promotes trade
liberalization in the region through its activities in APEC and
ASEAN.  It ratified the Uruguay Round GATT agreement in October
1994 to become one of the founding members of the World Trade
Organization.

    Taking into account a lack of natural resources and a small
(3.2 million population) domestic market, Singapore's policies
have created a climate encouraging economic growth, including
an open trade environment, a corruption-free pro-business
regulatory framework, political stability, public investment in
infrastructure, high savings and prudent fiscal management, a
trained labor force, and significant tax concessions to foreign
investors.  Singapore's fiscal policies have enhanced export
and investment growth.  The government has had a budget surplus
for most years since the 1970's.  The country's reserves
(US $48.2 billion in 1993) are conservatively invested by the
Singapore Government Investment Corporation.  The Central
Provident Fund (CPF) compulsory savings program is the basis
for the national savings rate of 47 percent of GDP.

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country's
central bank, engages in limited money-market operations to
influence interest rates and ensure adequate liquidity in the
banking system.  Strict financial discipline is the
government's most important tool for controlling inflation. 
Although inflation is moderate by international standards
(2.4 percent last year and 3.5 percent so far this year), an
acute labor shortage and rising property values have
intensified inflationary pressures.  The MAS maintains a strong
currency to check inflation, particularly imported inflation,
given Singapore's extreme exposure to international trade.

    Singapore has become a major center for electronics, oil
refining and financial services, acting as a hub for the
growing southeast Asian market.  Singapore's sound economic
policies which promote private investment have attracted about
900 U.S. companies to Singapore, with cumulative investments of
US $18.9 billion in 1993.  The United States is Singapore's
largest trading partner, accounting for 18 percent of total
trade in 1993.  U.S. imports to Singapore in 1993 were
US $10.7 billion and Singapore's exports to the United States
were US $12.7 billion.


2.  Exchange Rate Policy

    Singapore has no exchange rate controls.  Exchange rates
are determined freely by daily cross rates in the international
foreign exchange markets.  The MAS uses currency swaps and
direct open market operations to keep the Singapore dollar
within a desired trading range, guarding against the
internationalization of the Singapore dollar so as not to lose
control over its monetary and economic policies.

    The Singapore dollar appreciated 17 percent against the
U.S. dollar from 1989 to 1993.  Since the end of 1993 to
mid-October 1994, the Singapore dollar has strengthened another
8 percent.  This has not adversely affected Singapore's economy
as nearly all of its production inputs are imported.  The
strong Singapore dollar has helped to make U.S. products more
competitive in the Singapore market.


3.  Structural Policies

    Singapore's prudent economic policies have allowed for
steady economic growth and the development of a reliable
market, to the benefit of U.S. exporters.  Singapore was the
ninth largest customer for U.S. products in 1993, up from 11th
in 1992.  Prices for virtually all products are determined by
the market.  The government lets bids by open tender and
encourages price competition throughout the economy.

    Singapore's tax policy is designed to maintain its
international competitive position.  Foreign firms are taxed on
the same basis as local firms.  The corporate tax is currently
at 27 percent.  The government aims to bring the corporate tax
down to 25 percent in the next few years.  There are no taxes
on capital gains, turnover, or development.  The Government
implemented a 3 percent value-added Goods and Services Tax
(GST) in 1994 but reduced corporate and personal taxes. 
Tariffs exist for only a few products.  Excise duties are
levied on cigarettes, alcohol, petroleum products and motor
vehicles primarily to control social behavior and restrict
motor vehicle numbers.  There are no nontariff barriers to
foreign goods.

    Many of Singapore's public policy measures are tailored to
attract foreign investments and ensure an environment conducive
enough for their efficient business operations and
profitability.  Although the government seeks to develop more
high-tech industries, it does not impose production standards,
require purchases from local sources, or specify a percentage
of output for export.


4.  Debt Management Policies

    Singapore's external public debt was a negligible US $7.2
million at the end of 1993, and its debt service ratio is less
than 0.1 percent.  Singapore's budget surpluses and mandatory
savings have allowed the government wide latitude in supporting
infrastructure, education, and other programs contributing
significantly to national development.


5.  Significant Barriers to U.S. Exports

    Singapore has one of the world's most liberal and open
trade regimes.  Nearly 99 percent of imports enter duty free. 
Import licenses are not required, customs procedures are
minimal and highly efficient, the standards code is reasonable
and the government actively encourages foreign investment.  All
major government procurement is by international tender.  The
Government ratified the Uruguay Round GATT accord on October
18, 1994.

    Singapore maintains some market access restrictions in the
services sector.  Local retail banking is limited to those
foreign banks with full or restricted licenses - the Monetary
Authority of Singapore has issued no new ones to foreign or
domestic banks since 1970, as it considers Singapore
over-banked.  Foreign banks hold over half the retail
licenses.  Foreign retail banks are not allowed additional
branches or ATM machines although local banks are allowed to
expand.  No new licenses for direct (general) insurers are
being issued, although re-insurance and captive insurance
licenses are freely available.  Foreign companies hold about
three-quarters of the 58 direct insurance licenses.  Foreign
securities firms are not permitted to have full membership in
the Stock Exchange of Singapore.

    The telecommunications sector has been steadily liberalized
since 1989.  There are no restrictions on the sale of
telecommunications consumer goods except that they must meet
the technical standards set by the Telecommunications Authority
of Singapore (TAS).  Provision of value-added network services
(VANS) have also been liberalized.  Newly listed on the stock
exchange, Singapore Telecom's monopoly to provide basic
telecommunication services will end in 2007.


6.  Export Subsidies Policies

    Singapore does not subsidize exports although it does
actively promote them.  The government offers significant
incentives to attract foreign investment, almost all of which
is in export-oriented industries.  It also offers tax
incentives to exporters and reimburses firms for certain costs
incurred in trade promotion, but it does not employ multiple
exchange rates, preferential financing schemes,
import-cost-reduction measures or other trade distorting policy
tools.


7.  Protection of U.S. Intellectual Property

    Singapore has taken concrete measures in recent years to
improve its level of intellectual property protection. 
Singapore recently became a member of the World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO), and has already ratified the
Uruguay Round Accord including the TRIPS provisions.  Singapore
is not a party to the Berne Convention or the Universal
Copyright Convention.  In 1987, following close consultation
with the U.S. Government, Singapore enacted strict, 
comprehensive copyright legislation which relaxed the burden of
proof for copyright owners pressing charges, strengthened civil
and criminal penalties and made unauthorized possession of
copyrighted material an offense in certain cases.  In January
1991, Singapore similarly strengthened its Trademark Law.  In
1994 Singapore enacted a new Patents Act.

    Problem Areas

    Patent Law:  Singapore enacted a new Patents Act in
October 1994 which was designed to introduce local patent
registration (previously patents had to be registered in the
United Kingdom before being registered in Singapore).  U.S.
companies dislike several provisions of the new law (chiefly in
the compulsory licensing area) and a number of provisions do
not conform to the TRIPS agreement.  The Singapore government
has pledged not to invoke the new compulsory license
provisions, and has promised to bring the patent law into full
compliance with TRIPS provisions within the next several years.

    Copyrights:  The problem of pirated computer software in
Singapore has significantly lessened in the past year as the
government has taken a more active stance.  In response to
concern expressed by the U.S. government and several
intellectual property protection associations, Singapore
markedly stepped up enforcement of copyright protection in
1994, including government prosecution of one case which
resulted in a felony conviction and jail sentence.  As a result
of stepped up enforcement, copyright infringement in the
computer and software areas has been significantly reduced in
1994.  In response to motion picture and phonographic industry
complaints that the Singapore government is not doing enough to
stem the importation and transshipment of pirated videos and
compact disks, Singapore's Board of Censors has begun to screen
for pirated materials before issuing censorship seals.

    Industry associations have estimated losses due to
compulsory licensing provisions of the patent law total
approximately US $5 million.  Software piracy losses have been
significantly reduced since last year when the industry loss
estimate was US $32.2 million.  We have no industry estimates
for this year.


8.  Worker Rights

    Article 14 of the Singapore's constitution gives all
citizens the right to form associations, including trade
unions.  Parliament may, however, based on security, public
order, or morality grounds impose restrictions.  The right of
association is delimited by the Societies Act and, labor and
education laws and regulations.  In practice, communist labor
unions are not permitted.  Singapore's labor force numbered
1.64 million in 1993, with some 236,000 workers organized in
85 trade unions.  Ninety-nine percent of these workers in
80 unions are affiliated with an umbrella organization, the
National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), which has a symbiotic
relationship with the government.  The NTUC's leadership is
made up mainly of Members of Parliament belonging to the ruling
People's Action Party (PAP).  The Secretary-General of the NTUC
is also an elected Minister without Portfolio in the Prime 
Minister's Office.

    The Trades Union Act authorizes the formation of unions
with broad rights.  Collective bargaining is a normal part of
labor-management relations in Singapore, particularly in the
manufacturing sector.  Collective bargaining agreements are
renewed every two to three years, although wage increases are
negotiated annually.

    Under sections of Singapore's Destitute Persons Act, any
indigent person may be required to reside in a welfare home and
engage in suitable work.  The Government enforces the
Employment Act which prohibits the employment of children under
12 years and restrict children under 16 from certain categories
of work.  The Singapore labor market offers relatively high
wage rates and working conditions consistent with international
standards.  However, Singapore has no minimum wage or
unemployment compensation.  Because of a continuing labor
shortage, wages have generally stayed high.  The government
enforces comprehensive occupational safety and health laws. 
Enforcement procedures, coupled with the promotion of
educational and training programs, reduced the frequency of
job-related accidents by one-third over the past decade.  The
average severity of occupational accidents has also been
reduced.

    U.S. firms have substantial investments in several sectors
of the economy, including petroleum, chemicals and related
products, electric and electronic equipment, transportation
equipment, and other manufacturing areas.  Labor conditions in
these sectors are the same as in other sectors.  The growing
labor shortage has forced employers mainly in the electronics
industry to hire many unskilled foreign workers.  Over 360,000
foreign workers are employed legally in Singapore, 22 percent
of the total work force.  The government controls the number of
foreign workers through immigration regulation and through
levies on firms hiring them.  Foreign workers face no legal
discrimination, but, because they are mostly unskilled, they
are general paid less than Singaporeans.



  Extent of U.S. Investment in Selected Industries.--U.S. Direct
Investment Position Abroad on an Historical Cost Basis--1993

                    (Millions of U.S. dollars)
                                                                
              Category                          Amount          

Petroleum                                             1,937
Total Manufacturing                                   4,632
  Food & Kindred Products                      86
  Chemicals and Allied Products               525
  Metals, Primary & Fabricated                 30
  Machinery, except Electrical              1,796
  Electric & Electronic Equipment           1,873
  Transportation Equipment                    (1)
  Other Manufacturing                         (1)
Wholesale Trade                                       1,076
Banking                                                 469
Finance/Insurance/Real Estate                           356
Services                                                187
Other Industries                                        125
TOTAL ALL INDUSTRIES                                  8,782     

(1) Suppressed to avoid disclosing data of individual companies
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic
Analysis

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