Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb is this week visiting Singapore to both assess and advance progress of the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSR).

The CSR was declared last June by the respective prime ministers in marking the 50thanniversary of diplomatic relations and identifies a wide range of initiatives across the economic, foreign affairs, defence and security fronts.

One of the many initiatives identified was an early review of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), which entered into force back in 2003. The review is scheduled for completion by July this year.

Other economic initiatives include expanding two-way investment flows and exploring investment opportunities in sectors such as food, agribusiness and infrastructure in areas like northern Australia; increasing the flow of skilled labour and visitors; joint tourism cooperation; building additional research and development partnerships and enhancing aviation and maritime connectivity.

There are also various initiatives to deepen defence cooperation in areas such as military training, exchanges and postings; intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism, organised crime and cyber-crime.

A strong focus has also been placed on deepening links between our educational, scientific and research institutions, including new opportunities for students under the New Colombo Plan. There will also be more cooperation between our arts institutions.

Mr Robb said a shared strategic perspective and complementary economies were the cornerstones of the Australia-Singapore relationship. “To me our ambition for deepening our relationship and economic integration should be akin to the close relationship we enjoy with New Zealand,” he said.

Mr Robb said the FTA was an important component of our economic relationship, and the review provides an opportunity to further strengthen our bilateral trade and investment links with our fifth largest trading partner and foreign investor.

“The review of the FTA is timely and consideration is being given to enhancements in areas such as goods trade, services, investment and government procurement,” he said.

“There are significant opportunities to build on our relationship across a range of sectors including in science and research, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and infrastructure.”

Mr Robb will meet with ministerial counterparts to discuss progress of the various initiatives under the CSR.

“Singapore of course is an important source of investment into Australia and I will again take the chance to meet with significant investors and promote new opportunities in areas like northern Australia as well as in science and innovation cooperation,” Mr Robb said.

Singapore is recognised as the fourth most popular location for foreign affiliates of Australian companies.

Mr Robb will also participate in Australia Day events with Australian business. 

Source:  Trade and Investment Minister