For Immediate Release
REMARKS (as prepared)
Chargé d’Affaires, Rafik Mansour
AmCham Singapore’s U.S. Presidential Election 2020
November 4, 2020
Thank you very much to Hsien, the AmCham Board of Governors, and your entire team for making today’s event a reality. I know there are many challenges to hosting an event like this – especially at this moment in time – and I’m so pleased to be gathered here safely and responsibly with you – our friends, colleagues, and partners – as we witness history together.
It’s fitting to be gathered here amongst business and community leaders, as you are in many ways the heart of the U.S.-Singapore relationship. Our countries have enjoyed more than fifty years of official partnership since we established diplomatic ties in 1966, but our commercial linkages go back much further than that. From trading spices and ice more than 200 years ago, our dynamic economic relationship has grown to include more than 4,500 U.S. companies operating here, employing 200,000 people in Singapore. The U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement signed in 2003 – our first with any Asian nation – further enhanced an already strong and thriving commercial bond and remains one of the “gold standards” for mutual trade agreements around the world.
That unshakable economic relationship is strongly rooted in our many shared values and a common desire for stability, progress, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. The United States is also committed to democratic principles, and that’s why elections are such an important insight into who we are.
As always, the U.S. Embassy has no higher priority than protecting and supporting the tens of thousands of U.S. citizens here in Singapore. During our elections, the State Department has ensured Americans abroad understand their right to vote and have the tools and resources to do so from anywhere in the world, including right here in Singapore. In recent months, our team has helped thousands of Americans register to vote, obtain their ballots, and submit them to their home states so that their voices are heard.
While 2020 has presented many unpredictable challenges, Americans have risen to the occasion and demonstrated their resilience and resolve. This is particularly true when it comes to participating in the election despite the pandemic. Even before election day, about 100 million enthusiastic American voters cast their ballots, a record level of civic participation. Experts have predicted that this year’s voter turnout will be the highest in more than a century. In fact, the United States is on course to surpass 150 million votes for the first time ever, demonstrating Americans’ steadfast commitment to our democratic institutions and way of life.
Today, as we mark yet another milestone in America’s democratic story, the eyes of the world are glued to screens to learn what our next chapter will bring. That’s because American leadership and values continue to be indispensable in positively shaping global stability and prosperity. That is certainly evident here in the Indo-Pacific region, and we stand alongside our many partners – like Singapore – to advance a free and open rules-based order in this vitally strategic part of the world. We continue to express strong support for basic freedoms and national sovereignty in the Indo-Pacific, working together on everything from maritime security and counterterrorism to cybersecurity, transparent infrastructure development, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We believe in common fundamental values such as democracy, rule of law and free economy. Those values have never been more important than now, as we face a global pandemic and the many effects it has had on our way of life. So far this year, the United States has contributed more than $20 billion to fight COVID-19 around the world. U.S. leadership in vaccine development and infectious disease treatment is vital to efforts to combat the pandemic worldwide.
Lessons learned from American research and scientific breakthroughs – like vaccines that protect the world’s citizens from yellow fever, measles, and polio, for example – are advancing efforts to rapidly develop a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19. Cutting-edge collaboration between Americans and Singaporeans, like the one at Duke-NUS, have been essential to Singapore’s national response to the virus and in creating innovative solutions to such a global public health challenge.
2020 will prove to be a landmark year for both the United States and Singapore for many reasons, but particularly as both our peoples have stepped up to define our futures by electing our leadership. Regardless of the outcome of our election, I can be sure of one thing: the United States will remain a key player in the Indo-Pacific and a close partner to Singapore as we continue building on our indispensable economic, political, and security cooperation. Thank you all for the work you do every day to continue advancing that partnership for the mutual benefit of the United States and Singapore.