Why would the United States be bothered with Singapore?

We are but a tiny red dot. Our population small, land is scarce, our military might ranked in the middle in an international context and ruled by one political party for over 50 years. Why on earth would some of the most power leaders in the world be bothered with us?

Consider these things in Singapore’s resume:

  • We are currently the fifteenth-largest trading partner of the United States
  • The United States is Singapore’s third largest goods trading partner, after China and Malaysia.
  • In 2016, the bilateral goods surplus totaled $9.1 billion in 2016, while the U.S. services surplus with Singapore totaled $9.7 billion.
  • Singapore is the United State’s 13th largest goods export market (2016). Top export categories includes machinery, aircraft, electrical machinery, optical and medical instruments, and mineral fuels
  • U.S. exports of agricultural products to Singapore totaled $754 million in 2016, including prepared food, fresh fruit, vegetable oils, animal fats, and dairy products
  • The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Singapore (stock) was $228.7 billion in 2015. The stock of Singapore’s FDI in the United States was $19.4 billion in 2015, led by manufacturing.
  • We have the 5th largest sovereign wealth funds in the world ($556b total assets under management, as compared with $150.8b belonging to the U.S.)
  • We have a AAA-rated sovereign bond rating
  • We account for 25 per cent to 35 per cent of commodities trading in Asia
  • We rank 78th in the list of the world’s oil producing countries, even though we have zero oil
  • Our trade to GDP ratio is among the highest in the world, averaging around 400%
  • The Port of Singapore is the second busiest in the world by cargo tonnage
  • Ranks No. 2 on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness rankings.
  • We are ranked 9th in the world in the Rule of Law Index by the World Justice Project


However, we are always quick to add a disclaimer and this one by Professor Tan Khee Giap, economist from the National University of Singapore would fit very well:

“Singapore’s economic strength is so vulnerable. When Europe stops, when America goes into recession, when Japan goes into recession and China slows down, there is nothing left for Singapore because we are so small, our economy is all exports”.



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