Joint Ministerial Meeting With Singapore

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong and Minister for Trade and Tourism Senator Don Farrell hosted their Singaporean counterparts yesterday (01 May) for the 13th Singapore–Australia Joint Ministerial Committee meeting in Canberra. They noted that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Singapore Australia Free Trade Agreement.

In a joint media release from the Foreign Minister’s Department the following was reported:
Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee
Joint media release with: The Hon Richard Marles MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence; Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Trade and Tourism, Special Minister of State

“Australia and Singapore have a strong and ambitious relationship, underpinned by a shared vision for a region that is peaceful, stable and prosperous, where sovereignty is respected.

“Our cooperation with Singapore has grown remarkably in recent decades and is guided by our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“Our biennial Joint Ministerial Committee meetings with Singapore are an important platform to discuss our shared strategic, trade and investment interests, and our cooperation across defence and security, the digital and green economies, food security, education, the arts, science and innovation.”

While at the meeting, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said ASEAN countries could overtake the European Union as Australia’s largest trading partner in time, mirroring what has already happened in China. Singapore, he said, is well placed to “host the advanced high-value added manufacturing operations and to serve as a supply chain control centre, and logistics and procurement hub for Australian businesses serving Southeast Asia.”

As reported by Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Minister Don Farrell: “One of the things that happens this year is that we celebrate 20 years of our Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore. Singapore is our closest friend in Southeast Asia, and we see great opportunities to build upon the past and build upon those complementary features of our economy, whether it be in the digital space – and we have got a very progressive agreement with Singapore in the digital space – whether it be in the green space. Australia intends to be a renewable superpower, and we believe that we can be great partners with Singapore.”

As reported by the Australian Defence website:
“The Ministers welcomed the strong trade and investment partnership between Australia and Singapore. They noted that both countries are among each other’s top trading partners and that bilateral trade volumes continued to grow, underpinned by the upgraded Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA). The Ministers looked forward to the 20th anniversary of SAFTA in July 2023 and acknowledged that it remained a modern and forward-looking agreement.”

Singapore and Australia are both members of the RCEP and the CPTPP.

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