During her recent visit to the Singapore, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton highlighted the key role Asia plays in the global economy as well as the importance of America’s trade with the region in elevating “the role of economics” in the US’ work around the world.

In her speech, given at the Singapore Management University during an event co-hosted by the US-ASEAN Business Council in November, Clinton spoke about the importance of America’s partnerships with countries like Singapore.

“Here in Asia the United States is taking concrete steps to protect and update an open, free, transparent, and fair economic system that has made the region's spectacular growth possible.

“Through APEC and ASEAN, we are working with partners like Singapore to improve regulatory standards, harmonize customs procedures, and reduce trade barriers.”

She added that this economic engagement will “improve competitiveness and transparency” as well as “raise standards, and drive long-term growth across the region.”

Clinton also highlighted examples of the recently ratified free trade agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which she stated “will cover 40 per cent of the world’s total trade”.

The TPP is a free trade agreement that aims to liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. This agreement plays a key role in reducing import tariffs, harmonising regulations and helping to enable increased trade between countries.

Moving forward, Mrs Clinton spoke on making such efforts “a truly global vision”.

“In the same way that the general agreement on trade and tariffs offered a global blueprint following World War II, we need new arrangements to take on the challenges that inhibit trade today, from non-tariff barriers to preferential treatment for state-owned enterprises,” she said.

In addition to trade, Mrs Clinton, who was visiting Singapore for the second time since her appointment as the US Secretary of State, also outlined US’ focus in looking for economic solutions for their strategic challenges, just like in Myanmar.

“The costs of economic sanctions [on Myanmar] and the benefits of rejoining the global economy help spur the government to begin opening up.

“The US is responding not just with growing diplomatic engagement but also with new economic ties that we believe will help encourage further political and market reforms," she said.