Australia and Singapore have a strong and productive bilateral relationship, based on long-standing political, economic, defence and Commonwealth links. Singapore is Australia’s largest trade and investment partner in South-East Asia. Both countries have a shared belief that more open trade will lead to economic prosperity and bring more transparency to the business framework.
On 29 June 2015, Australia and Singapore signed a Joint Declaration on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations. The CSP opens a new, dynamic chapter in the two countries’ partnership by deepening existing areas of cooperation and catalysing new ones. The two governments have embarked on a ten-year economic plan; in particular, enhance collaboration in innovation, science, research, and technology, capitalising on the two countries’ respective and complementary strengths.
Singapore is Australia’s largest trade and investment partner in ASEAN and the seventh-largest 2-way trading partner overall. In 2017, Australian merchandise exports to Singapore were $5.8 billion and imports from Singapore were $8.2 billion. Services are a key part of our bilateral trade, with exports to Singapore valued at $5.36 billion and imports at $5.17 billion in 2016-17.
Singapore’s investment in Australia is substantial, at $98.9 billion in 2016, and Singapore was ranked sixth overall as a source of foreign investment in Australia. Singaporean investment has traditionally been concentrated in real estate but has become more diversified in recent years.
Australia has a strong education and training relationship with Singapore and is a popular destination for Singaporean students studying overseas. There are more than 130,000 Singaporean alumni of Australian institutions. Australian universities also have a strong presence in Singapore, with more than 20 offering degrees either at their campus or through a Singapore partner.
On 29 June 2015, Prime Ministers of Australia and Singapore agreed to the Third Review of SAFTA as part of a new package of initiatives to advance the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). Under this review, SAFTA will be upgraded to reflect the increasingly global, competitive and connected business environment, and will build upon the outcomes of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, which Singapore and Australia have also signed.
On 6 May 2016, Australia and Singapore announced that the Third SAFTA Review was substantially concluded. The Third SAFTA Review will further integrate the two economies by locking in access and providing business certainty in trade and investment into the future.
Singapore is a signatory of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and a party to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations with nine other ASEAN members plus Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.