Regional economic integration is imperative to Singapore and multilateral trade deals will help the city-state create more jobs and provide a higher standard of living, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said on August 15.

Addressing the OCBC Global Treasury Regional Forum, which was attended by about 400 senior executives of large corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises and financial institutions across Asia , Minister Lim said integration will also benefit businesses, as trade liberalisation and regulatory coherence will reduce cost, improve productivity, and facilitate the participation in the global supply chain.

He noted that Singapore is currently involved in the negotiation process of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). With the two deals, the financial industry will have new market-opening opportunities in the region, even while financial regulators retain their right to ensure the stability and integrity of financial markets, the minister said.

He added that the financial sector, which contributes 12 percent of Singapore ’s gross domestic product (GDP) and hires more than 180,000 professionals, is a good example of how Singapore has benefited from an open global trading system.

According to the minister, parties involved will value the strategic importance of these agreements, and endure the short-term pain of reform in exchange for long-term benefits.

The TPP negotiations currently involve Australia , Brunei , Canada , Chile , Japan , Malaysia , Mexico , New Zealand , Peru , Singapore , the United States and Vietnam .

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) groups the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with six partners including Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.-VNA