Singapore an outstanding economic partner says Obama

Singapore an outstanding economic partner says Obama  Washington: US President Barack Obama applauded Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for being an outstanding partner of Washington as the two leaders met and discussed various defence and economic issues.

"They are an outstanding economic partner. Over the last decade, since we signed our free trade agreement, we have seen a doubling of trade between our countries, and that creates jobs here in the United States as well as in Singapore," Obama told reporters during joint press availability with Lee at the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday.

"As a leader in ASEAN and the East Asia Summit, they've provided I think a steady vision of how countries in the Pacific region can cooperate effectively for the prosperity and security of all, and are strong promoters of rules of the road and international norms that the United States strongly supports," he said.

Appreciating the extraordinary relationship between the two countries, Obama said, "Personally, I can tell you that there are very few world leaders who I am more appreciative of in terms of their advice and counsel and thoughtful analysis than Prime Minister Lee."

In his remarks Lee said, "Singapore is very happy that the US and the Obama administration has been putting greater emphasis on its relation to Asia, that it's rebalancing towards Asia, and that it's engaging Asia across many fronts -- not just security, but also economics, also cultural and educational.

"And Singapore would like to be of help in furthering this process in deepening the relationship," Lee added.

"The TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is a very important part of it, and we're working on that agenda now. There's also work going on deepening ASEAN's relations with the United States, which the President initiated when we last met in November back then," he said.

"And there are other important bilateral relationships in Asia, including what is perhaps the most important bilateral relationship in the world, which is between the US and China.

"And we are happy that the administration's attention is focused on this, and Singapore will do our part to do what we can to help America engage the region constructively, productively, and in a way in which it fosters stability and prosperity for all the countries," Lee said.

PTI