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, while Singapore has a High Commission in Canberra.[8][9] The two countries are members of the Commonwealth and each attend the Heads of Government Meeting held every two years to further Commonwealth member's relations. Separate to this, 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, then 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]


  1. ^ "Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA)". Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  2. ^ a b "Singapore Australia Joint Ministerial Committee". 2009-07-26. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  3. ^ "SPEECH-CREAN-200709". 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  4. ^ a b "Australia-Singapore CSP: Tony Abbott, Lee Hsien Loong sign agreement formalising defence, economic ties". ABC News (Australia). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "About Optus - SingTel Australia completes acquisition of". Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  6. ^ "Singtel's Chief Defends Optus Purchase". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  7. ^ "Agreement To Boost Clean Energy Ties With Singapore - The Hon Simon Crean MP, Australian Minister for Trade". Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  8. ^ "SINGAPORE". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "Australian High Commission, Singapore". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  10. ^ "Joint Communiqué of the Ninth Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee (SAJMC)". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "Singapore and Australia Sign Bilateral Defence Agreement". Naval Technology. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 

External links[edit]