When the negotiations for trade liberalization at global and regional levels bogged down, Singapore swiftly engaged in planning for and forging a vast array of free trade agreements (FTAs), culminating in an FTA groundswell in East Asia and beyond. On the role played by Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, confidently stated that “to say it is because of us may be too strong, but we set an example and we set people thinking. And I think that’s also the reason why ASEAN itself is discussing FTAs. There is a demonstration effect” (cited in The Straits Times, December 1, 2004). Singapore’s interest in signing bilateral FTAs consecutively1 was partly born out of a fear of its survival as a nation relying heavily on trade for its growth, and also for the reason that FTAs were expected to help Singapore overcome its innate inability to call effectively for diplomatic and economic changes in Southeast Asia to promote trade liberalization in the region and beyond
Terada, T. (2009). Competitive Regionalism in Southeast Asia and Beyond: Role of Singapore and ASEAN. In Competitive Regionalism (pp. 161–180). Palgrave Macmillan UK. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230234239_8
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