Media release from The Hon Steven Ciobo MP
The Turnbull Government has delivered a comprehensive update of Australia’s second oldest free trade agreement, creating significant opportunities for Australian service providers.
Today, with my Singaporean counterpart Minister Lim Hng Kiang, I signed an Agreement to Amend the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA). The Agreement is a crucial part of Australia’s Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Singapore.
This updated FTA delivers big wins for Australian service providers with greater access and certainty in sectors such as education, law, financial and professional services.
Singapore has given Australia its best FTA treatment, putting our exporters on an equal or better footing than our foreign competitors. Singapore has also agreed to recognise the Juris Doctor degrees of Australian universities currently listed in SAFTA, providing access for those universities that have moved to a graduate model of legal education.
Australia and Singapore will also establish a framework under SAFTA to support mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Priority will be given to arrangements for engineers and accountants, with Singapore and Australia agreeing to commence negotiations on mutual recognition arrangements.
Complementing existing tariff-free entry for goods, the updated rules of origin will simplify
administration and reduce the compliance costs for traders using the Agreement.
SAFTA will also reduce red tape for investors from Singapore, Australia’s fifth-highest source of foreign investment, by harmonising the Foreign Investment Review Board screening thresholds for Singapore with those agreed under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.
We are also supporting innovation exchange between Australia and Singapore by establishing a Landing Pad for Australian entrepreneurs at Singapore's largest integrated startup space, BASH (Build Amazing Startups Here).
The amended SAFTA builds on the success of the FTAs the Coalition concluded with the North Asia powerhouse economies of China, Japan and Korea.
The Turnbull Government is pursuing an ambitious trade agenda, and more free trade agreements, as part of our national economic plan to create jobs and economic growth.