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Strategic partnership with Singapore a step closer

Strategic partnership with Singapore a step closer article image

Negotiations on trade and defence under the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) are nearing completion.

Special Envoy for Trade Andrew Robb is confident of a successful outcome following a recent three-day visit.

This is the second trip to Singapore by Mr Robb in the past four weeks.

Earlier this month he made considerable progress on the review of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs.

“Negotiations on the partnership between Australia and Singapore are designed to take our relationship to the next level and akin to the formal and informal economic links we enjoy with New Zealand,” Mr Robb said.

“Since our agreement with New Zealand 32 years ago, average annual growth in two-way trade has been 6.6 per cent, and in 2014-15 total trade (goods and services) was valued at $A23.7 billion – an example of the type of outcomes we are chasing with an agreement with Singapore.

Significant opportunities

“Through the review of our FTA with Singapore and the CSP we hope to further integrate our economies and to build on two-way trade between our nations which last year (2014-15) was $A28.5 billion.

“As we see it there are significant opportunities to build on our relationship across a range of sectors including innovation, professional services, science and research, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, education, infrastructure and defence cooperation.”

Singapore is an important strategic partner in the region and is Australia’s fifth-largest trading partner and largest trade and investment partner in ASEAN.

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