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SBF welcomes the conclusion of substantial new Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Package

6 May 2016 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) welcomes the conclusion of a landmark agreement today between Singapore and Australia that builds on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership adopted in June 2015 by the Prime Ministers of both countries. We are pleased that this substantial new package will enhance our strategic, trade, economic, defence and people to people links.

A key outcome is the decision of both countries to update and modernise the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement, bringing about new trade and investment opportunities for businesses. The review of the technical barriers on wine and distilled spirits, cosmetics, medical devices and pharmaceuticals will promote greater regulatory coherence. This will save costs for businesses and give consumers more product choices. The recognition of more certification in the healthcare, engineering, accounting and legal fraternity will encourage freer movement of labour and expand the pool of professionals available for the various sub-specialisations. This provision will be useful for the expansion of services industries of both countries.

We also welcome Australia’s decision to establish a “landing pad” in Singapore to facilitate high tech Australian start-ups. Greater co-operation with Australia will reinforce Singapore’s role as an international hub for innovation and the creative industries. It will also increase opportunities for Singapore companies and enhance complementary value creation. The combined incentive of S$50 million over the next five years to enhance innovation and science is much welcomed by businesses. Businesses and entrepreneurs can leverage each other’s network to expand their exposure to the ecosystem, broaden their market and then scale.

Northern Australia has natural advantages relating to agriculture, mineral and energy resources, offering opportunities for Singaporean businesses to establish their footprint in the resource-rich region. The Singapore-Northern Australia Agribusiness Development Partnership will encourage Singaporean and Australian companies to work together towards the shared objectives of securing reliable supply chains for food and agribusiness products through investment-led development of northern Australia. This is a recognition of Singapore’s strength in having well-developed infrastructure, connectivity and understanding of the growing Asian markets, and the bigger role it can play in regional food supply and security.

Mr Ho Meng Kit, SBF CEO, said, “The new Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Package marks a milestone in bilateral ties between the two countries. The business communities of both countries have a very close relationship and share similar perspectives on many global business issues. We are encouraged by this win-win deal that will not only draw our two countries closer but also deepen the integration of our economies. The economic provisions in the new Partnership have been updated to meet the needs of today’s businesses. They position our businesses to contribute to regional growth and would benefit Singapore and Australian businesses for years to come.”

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