On 8 May 2016 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Australians would go to the polls on 2 July. One of the key areas of campaigning for both major parties is likely to be jobs and economic growth. Setting this tone, on 6 May 2016, the Turnbull government announced a new package of initiatives to bring forward the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) between Singapore and Australia that was announced between the two countries in 2015.

Singapore is Australia’s fifth largest trading partner. The two countries have for many years shared a close strategic partnership. Singapore remains a leading light in the continuing economic growth and development of the ASEAN region. The current set of initiatives is designed to further enhance the 2003 Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and also builds upon the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which both Singapore and Australia have recently signed. The key features of the CSP are designed to further integrate the economies of the two countries allowing for increased business certainty in trade and investment.

Some of the key features of the CSP include:

  • Increase in existing defence cooperation.
  • Increasing business to business cooperation between the respective national science organisations (A*STAR and CSIRO).
  • Australia to relocate a business start-up “landing pad” to Singapore to promote innovation and commercialization.
  • Dvelop the Singapore-Northern Australia Agribusiness Development Partnership to promote Australian agribusiness expertise through increased Singaporean investment.
  • Establishment of a work/holiday program for youth to experience working and living in the respective countries.
  • Tourism cooperation enhancement.

For more information on the CSP, read the announcement here from the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.