SAFTA amendments enter into force

Amendments to the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which Parliament approved in October, entered into force on December 1.

In a statement, trade minister Steven Ciobo said the amended SAFTA would reduce unnecessary red tape for Australian exporters.

“Singapore has given Australia its best trade agreement treatment, putting our exporters on equal or better footing than our foreign competitors,” he said.

“With its modern service-based economy, Singapore is a natural gateway for Australian businesses to the rapidly growing markets of South East Asia.”

Mr Ciobo said SAFTA was one of Australia’s most successful free trade agreements, with bilateral trade growing by more than 80% since it was signed in 2003.

“The SAFTA upgrade, a major outcome of the Singapore Australia Comprehensive Partnership, will further strengthen our relations with a key partner in the region,” he said.

Total merchandise trade between Australia and Singapore in 2016 totalled $12.6bn, reflecting a year on year decrease in value of more than 22%, according to information available from DFAT.

This makes the country Australia’s 11th largest trade partner, accounting for 2.4% of its total trade.

Exports from Australia to the city-state were worth $5.5bn, while imports from Singapore were $7.1bn.

Major exports from Australia to Singapore in 2016 included crude petroleum (worth $836m), gold ($692m) and animal oils and fats ($335m).

Major imports from Singapore included refined petroleum (worth $3.7bn), edible products ($597m) and computers ($400m).

Source credit: The DCN