Singapore market snapshot
- GDP: US$295.7 billion (2013)
- GDP per capita: US$54,775 (2013)
- GDP growth: 3.5 per cent (2013)
- Population: 5.4 million (2013)
- Trade with Australia: AU$29.0 billion (2012-13)
The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) is a central pillar of the economic relationship with Singapore, Australia's largest trade and investment partner in South-East Asia.
In addition to tariff elimination, the Agreement improves increased market access for Australian exporters of services, particularly education, environmental, telecommunications, and professional services. It also provides a more open and predictable business environment across a range of areas, including competition policy, government procurement, intellectual property, e-commerce, customs procedures and business travel.
SAFTA entered into force on 28 July 2003. It was Australia's first bilateral free trade agreement since the Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement with New Zealand came into force in 1983.
Key interests and benefits
- Elimination of all tariffs from entry into force.
- Restrictions on the number of wholesale banking licenses to be eased over time and More certain, and enhanced operating environment for financial services suppliers.
- Conditions eased on establishment of joint ventures involving Australian law firms and number of Australian law degrees recognised in Singapore doubled from four to eight.
- Removal/easing of residency requirements for Australian professionals and short-term entry for Australian business people extended from one month to three months.
- Agreement to facilitate paperless trading in order to reduce business transaction costs.
Map of Singapore - quick facts
Singapore is host to the world’s busiest port by volume.
A number of Australian universities have opened campuses in Singapore, including Cairns-based James Cook University, and Perth-based Curtin University.
Amendments to the Singapore-Australia FTA
Singapore and Australia have completed the second review of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA). The amendments entered into force on 2 September 2011.
The second review amended Chapters 8, 10, and 13 as well as Annexes 3A, 4-I(A), 4-II(A), 4-I(B) and 4-II(B). Key changes include:
- Singapore and Australia to accord investors from each country fair and equitable treatment when investing in the other country;
- prohibition of performance requirements; and
- amendments to reflect changes to legislation in Australia (the Copyright Amendment Act 2006) and Singapore resulting from each country’s bilateral FTA with the United States.
The second ministerial review of SAFTA was concluded on 27 July 2009 in Singapore. Amendments arising from the review are expected to come into effect in 2011.
SAFTA contains specific review provisions. The first ministerial review of SAFTA was held in Sydney on 14 July 2004.
On 17 February 2003, the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was signed. The final agreement was subject to parliamentary consultation processes, and entered into force on 28 July 2003 following an exchange of diplomatic notes.
SAFTA negotiations were launched following an announcement by both countries at the APEC Leaders' Meeting in November 2000. Ten full rounds of negotiations were held between April 2001 and October 2002.
Here you can locate the full text of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement and other associated official documents.
- Preamble [PDF 69 KB]
- Chapter 1 - Objectives and General Definitions [PDF 94 KB]
- Chapter 2 - Trade in Goods [PDF 121 KB]
- Chapter 3 - Rules of Origin [PDF 165 KB]
- Chapter 4 - Customs Procedures [PDF 123 KB]
- Chapter 5 - Technical Regulations and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures [PDF 129 KB]
- Chapter 6 - Government Procurement [PDF 134 KB]
- Chapter 7 - Trade in Services [PDF 168 KB]
- Chapter 8 - Investment [PDF 147 KB]
- Chapter 9 - Financial Services [PDF 119 KB]
- Chapter 10 - Telecommunications Services [PDF 155 KB]
- Chapter 11 - Movement of Business Persons [PDF 114 KB]
- Chapter 12 - Competition Policy [PDF 118 KB]
- Chapter 13 - Intellectual Property [PDF 112 KB]
- Chapter 14 - Electronic Commerce [PDF 111 KB]
- Chapter 15 - Education Cooperation [PDF 97 KB]
- Chapter 16 - Dispute Settlement [PDF 117 KB]
- Chapter 17 - Final Provisions [PDF 94 KB]
- Annex 1: Export Duties [PDF 65 KB]
- Annex 2: Rules of Origin [PDF 98 KB]
- Annex 3: Government Procurement
- Annex 4: Reservations to Chapter 7 (Trade in Services) and Chapter 8 (Investment)
- 4-I: Cover Note to Reservations [PDF 68 KB]
- 4-I(A): Australia's Reservations [PDF 133 KB]
- 4-I(B): Singapore's Reservations [PDF 221 KB]
- 4-II: Cover Note to Reservations [PDF 120 KB]
- 4-II(A): Australia's Reservations [PDF 207 KB]
- 4-II(B): Singapore's Reservations [PDF 173 KB]
- 4-III: Additional Comments [PDF 111 KB]
- Annex 5: Technical Regulations and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement Business Guide explains how SAFTA has improved conditions of access to the Singapore market for many Australian businesses. It outlines new trade and investment opportunities for businesses in both Australia and Singapore, and describes how to take advantage of them.
Doing business in Singapore
The Australian Trade Commission’s (Austrade) SAFTA website has further information about the agreement.
Austrade has identified potential opportunities for Australian suppliers of goods and services in a number of sectors. Austrade's Singapore country page supplies general information on doing business and on specific export opportunities. The Austrade website has a database that can be searched by industry.
Australian exporters seeking to access new opportunities under SAFTA may wish to obtain more information on rules of origin and other requirements from the Australian Customs Service.
If you would like to know more about the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement, contact:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Officer (Singapore)
Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore (MBS) Section
South-East Asia Bilateral Branch
South-East Asia Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Phone: +61 2 6261 1111