Australia–Singapore relations

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Australia–Singapore relations
Map indicating locations of Singapore and Australia



Australia–Singapore relations are foreign relations between Australia and Singapore. Singapore has a high commission in Canberra and Australia has a high commission in Singapore.

Trade and investment[edit]

Monthly value of Australian merchandise exports to Singapore (A$ millions) since 1988
Monthly value of Singapore's merchandise exports to Australia (A$ millions) since 1988

The two countries have a free trade agreement which came into force in July 2003.[1]

Trade and investment is sizable between the two countries now. Singapore is Australia's fourth largest two-way trading partner, with total two-way trade valued at A$31 billion in 2008.[2] Australian service exports to Singapore for 2008 totalled A$3.9 billion, with service imports valued at A$4.7billion. Australian investment in Singapore is close to A$22 billion and Singapore’s investment in Australia is A$43 billion.[3]

In June 2015, the Australian and Singaporean Prime Ministers agreed to review the 2003 Free Trade Agreement, Prime Minister Abbott stating that the government wants to increase Singaporean investment in Australia.[4]

Foreign investment[edit]

Singaporean company SingTel is the owner of major Australian telecommunications company Optus.[5] At the time of purchasing Optus in 2001, the deal was the largest event ever for a Singaporean company valued at approximately A$8.5 billion.[6]


In July 2009, the peak clean energy industry bodies in Australia and Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding that will enhance commercial ties between the two countries. Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean said "This agreement sets the framework for collaboration in education, networking and information exchange in sustainable and renewable energy, and energy efficiency issues" [7]


Australia has a High Commission in Singapore and Singapore has a High Commission in Canberra.[8][9] The two nations hold biennial high-level talks through the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee. The two nations discuss economic, security and diplomatic issues with which the two countries face. Nine meetings have been held so far, the latest in 2016. In it, the ministers agreed to expand the scope of defence, security and economic ties. They stated that the two nations will work closer to achieve common goals at international organisations such as the United Nations, the G20, the World Trade Organisation and the ASEAN Regional Forum.[10]

Military cooperation[edit]

Singapore and Australia have been partners in the Five Power Defence Arrangements since 1971. In August 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong met in Singapore to sign a memorandum of understanding to strengthen bilateral defence ties. A joint statement by the Prime Ministers said that the pact aims to enhance the defence relationship between the two countries through 'expanding cooperation and sharing resources to develop military expertise'.[11]

Former Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith described the two countries as having "a strong bilateral defence relationship". Singapore has also provided support to Australian Defence Force operations in Afghanistan.[2]

In June 2015 the two nations entered into a comprehensive strategic partnership that increased defence and economic co-operation between countries. Prime Ministers Tony Abbott and Lee Hsien Loong announced the increase in co-operation during the Australian Prime Minister's visit to Singapore at a news conference, Prime Minister Lee stating that the partnership was a "road map for closer relations in trade, investment, foreign policy, defence and security." Prime Minister Abbott said he was pleased that the agreement has been formalised.[4]

See also[edit]


Ian Patrick Austin. Editor. 2011. Australia-Singapore Relations Successful Bilateral Relations ina Historical and Contemporary Context. Select Publishing. Singapore. Chapter 1 Australia-Singapore Relations - Diplomatic, Strategic, Commercial and Cultural (Ian Austin) Chapter 2 Australia and Singapore: the Development of Political Relations (Stephen Dobbs) Chapter 3 The Singapore-Australia Defence Relationship: Its Origins and Development Chapter 4 Australia-Singapore Commercial Relations (Ian Austin) Chapter 5 Entrepreneurship and the Growth of nations: A Comparative Study of the Small Business Sector in Australia and Singapore. (Calvin Wang) Chapter 6 Australia-Singapore Civila Aviation Relations. (Ian Austin and Yong Han-Cheong) Chapter 7 Food Stories: Culinary Links of an Island State and a Continent. (Cecilia Leong-Salobir) Chapter 8 Singapore and the LASALEE College of Arts: Australian Students Studying Musical Teatre Performance in Singapore. (Aaron Hales) Chapter 9 Creative Human Exchanges and the Singapore-Perth Network. (Terence Lee) Postscript: The Proposed ASX-SGX Merger - An Australian Perspective. (Ian Austin and Simon Minaee)

External links[edit]