Australia`s Free Trade Agreement With Singapore
SAFTA will also reduce bureaucracy for investors in Singapore, Australia`s fifth-highest source of foreign investment, by harmonizing the Foreign Investment Review Board`s screening thresholds for Singapore with those agreed under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). On 13 October 2016, Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment, and his Singaporean counterpart Lim Hng Kiang, Minister of Trade and Investment, in Canberra, the agreement amending SAFTA forming the trade results announced on 6 May 2016 by Prime Minister Turnbull and his Singaporean counterpart, Lee, under the aegis of the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). Singapore is Australia`s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia and the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) has enabled much of this success. SAFTA has not only removed tariffs, but it has also improved market access for important Australian exports in sectors such as education, green technologies and telecommunications. SAFTA provides a wide range of Australian exporters with greater opportunities for goods and services, further strengthens trade and investment relationships, eliminates Singapore tariffs and offers Australian businesses cheaper inputs for a number of products. Not only do the updates make bilateral trade more efficient and reduce costs, but they also draw on the rules of origin of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand (NAFTA) Free Trade Agreement. Negotiations for SAFTA began in 2002 and the agreement was signed in 2003. However, several updates and adaptations have been made since the signing of the agreement. In 2011, amendments were made to address some discrepancies in the agreement. These amendments provided fair and equitable treatment to investors from both countries when investing in the other country and reflected changes in legislation in both countries resulting from each country`s bilateral free trade agreements with the United States. The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was signed on 17 February 2003 and provides for the duty-free import of Singaporean products into Australia. SAFTA updates have had a significant impact on product exports, particularly with regard to wines/spirits and medical device/cosmetic exporters. All Australian and Singaporean products have been duty-free since SAFTA`s inception, but recent changes have made it easier for traders in both countries to obtain preferential treatment under the agreement.
The Turnbull government is pursuing an ambitious trade agenda and more free trade agreements as part of our national economic plan for job creation and economic growth. Australia and Singapore will also create a framework under SAFTA to support the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Priority is given to agreements for engineers and accountants, with Singapore and Australia expressing their readiness to start negotiations on mutual recognition agreements. .