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Kamala Harris Announces New US Supply Chain Initiative with Singapore

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Bloomberg news

Jenny Leonard

Publication date:

23 August 202114 minutes agoRead for 3 minutes Join the conversation

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(Bloomberg) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced new initiatives, including a high-level supply chain dialogue and cybersecurity and climate agreements, all aimed at strengthening economic and security ties.

During their first full day of work in Singapore, Harris and Lee on Monday launched the Growth and Innovation Partnership, led by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Singapore Department of Commerce and Industry, which will focus on the digital economy, energy and environmental technologies . advanced production and health care.

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The Dialogue to Promote Cooperation for Supply Chain Resilience includes a panel discussion with American and Singaporean industry leaders, as well as government-government discussions.

It is not clear which sectors will participate in the dialogue and by when the countries will look for results. Harris is due to meet with private sector and government officials in Singapore on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

Before leaving for Southeast Asia, Harris told reporters that she spoke to Mary Barra, Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, about the global chip scarcity and US reliance on countries in the Indo-Pacific for technology.

“The problems in the semiconductor supply chain are very real,” said Harris.

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Efforts to deepen economic ties do not include talks on new trade deals, an official said. While trade is part of Harris’ talks in Asia, negotiating a framework like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or even a digital trade deal is not on their agenda, the official added.

Open discussions

Harris and Lee held a restricted meeting to speak openly with each other, a senior official said before opening the meeting to their staff. They are supposed to hold a joint press conference on Monday afternoon. The two leaders also discussed space, the role of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other regional issues including China and Myanmar, senior administrative officials said.

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The vice president made it clear that while the US welcomes stiff competition with Beijing, the Biden administration does not want that competition into conflict, officials said.

While China’s growing economic and military power is at the fore at this week’s meetings, US officials have tried to divert attention from the confrontation with Beijing and attempted to frame the trip as a way to increase US engagement in the To sharpen the region and promote common interests – without asking the countries to choose either side between Washington and Beijing.

Wendy Cutler, a former sales representative who is now vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, said the distinction was positive for the relationship to develop.

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“While the Vice-President’s message ‘We are back and you can count on us’ meets with some skepticism during her trip, announcing concrete initiatives with serious implementation can overcome this,” she said. “To be successful, all new initiatives must be formulated in the affirmative and not as anti-China.”

Cyber ​​threats

The US and Singapore have entered into cybersecurity agreements covering the financial sector, military engagement and regional capacity building. The US Treasury Department and the Monetary Authority of Singapore have signed a letter of intent on cyber cooperation to facilitate the exchange of information on cyber threats to the financial markets.

The US and Singapore cybersecurity agencies have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve information sharing and coordination for responding to cyber incidents and to help build cybersecurity capacity in Southeast Asia.

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In addition, both sides announced the start of a climate partnership that will focus on strengthening sustainable funding mechanisms and mobilizing private capital for R&D efforts for mitigating and adapting to climate change.

On global health, countries agreed to work together to increase preparedness by enhancing Southeast Asian countries’ capacities to identify new variants of Covid and provide early warning of disease. You will also deepen collaboration in researching treatments.

Harris’ visit to the city-state comes as Singapore’s day-to-day life is closed to contain coronavirus outbreaks and residents are essentially locked down.

This complicates the usual courtesies associated with such a trip. But at least one common ceremony will take place: Lee named an orchid after Harris – a tradition for foreign guests of honor.

Harris will seek to distinguish himself in the region as the first female vice president to visit Vietnam later this week. She is scheduled to leave Singapore for Hanoi on Tuesday afternoon.

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

Bloomberg.com

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