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Joint declaration by the Prime Ministers of Australia and Singapore on a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

Joint declaration by the Prime Ministers of Australia and Singapore on a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

  1. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations, Australia and Singapore celebrate a friendship based on mutual trust, respect and common purpose. We recognise our shared history and our common future as Asia-Pacific nations.
  2. Over the last fifty years, ties between our peoples have deepened and our economies have become closer, benefitting our two countries and contributing to regional growth. Our longstanding defence and security cooperation has reinforced stability in the region. Our education links were forged through the Colombo Plan, and have been strengthened since.
  3. The foundation of the Australia-Singapore partnership is our shared strategic perspective and complementary economies. We share a vital interest in the political stability, uninterrupted economic growth and development of the nations of Southeast Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific region. Both our countries recognise and support ASEAN's role in fostering stability and prosperity in the region. We underscore the importance of an open and inclusive regional architecture based on international law.
  4. We will deepen our consultation and cooperation on regional and global issues. We both view strong and stable United States-China relations as essential for the region's stability and growth.
  5. We regard the United States' continued engagement in the region as fundamental to peace and prosperity. We also share the view that China's constructive engagement in the region and that of partners such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and India contribute to regional stability and prosperity.
  6. We share an ambitious vision for cooperation and seamless economic integration between our two countries over the next decade and beyond. We support an open, rules based trading system and greater trade liberalisation, globally and regionally.
  7. So today, we open a new, dynamic chapter in Australia-Singapore relations. We have decided to elevate our bilateral relationship and declare it a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to deepen existing areas of cooperation and catalyse new ones. We will implement a roadmap to fulfil the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership within a decade.
  8. Some ideas in the roadmap will take longer to realise while others will be achieved sooner. We want to move at a steady pace, with a view to achieving mutually-beneficial results.
  9. We will drive forward our cooperation through regular consultations between our two governments. Accordingly, we have decided to meet annually at the leader's level, alternating between the two countries as host. We commit to meet regularly across all levels of government, including the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee (SAJMC) meeting and the Public Service Roundtable, to implement the roadmap and identify new fields for cooperation.
  10. We have decided that the Partnership will encompass all aspects of bilateral relations. We want to achieve new levels of integration and cooperation in the economic, foreign affairs, defence, security and people-to-people fields.
  11. In the economic field, we will establish a Closer Economic Relationship (CER). Through the CER, we will work to remove regulatory obstacles and enhance an enabling environment for business in order to encourage a significant boost to the flow of trade and investment over the next decade.
  12. To bring about greater economic integration, we will work together to identify opportunities as a matter of priority to enable:
    1. better access to, and integration of, financial and capital markets;
    2. increased two-way investment flows;
    3. enhanced collaboration to maximise our complementary economic strengths for mutual benefit in third markets;
    4. enhanced research and development partnerships and fostering the commercialisation of research among our agencies, academic institutions and the private sector;
    5. enhanced private sector collaboration and exploration of investment opportunities in sectors such as food, agribusiness and infrastructure and in new growth areas including Northern Australia;
    6. increased flow of skilled labour and visitors; and
    7. enhanced aviation and maritime connectivity.
  13. Our CER will build on the significant outcomes already delivered under the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA), and on those now being progressed through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.
  14. We will increase consultation and cooperation on regional and global economic issues, in particular, matters related to the ASEAN Economic Community.
  15. On foreign policy, we will increase consultation and cooperation on regional and global issues, including on global power dynamics and their impact on our region. We will also step up consultation and cooperation on issues related to ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS).
  16. We will renew cooperation to support the development of third countries in our region, through embarking on more joint development programmes, including on capacity building.
  17. We value our comprehensive and longstanding defence and security partnership which has been strengthened by strong patterns of joint exercises and training and close collaboration in operational environments. We recall the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation and reaffirm our commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA). We will further strengthen bilateral defence and security cooperation, including through:
    1. increased access to, and enhancement of, training areas including joint development of military training facilities in Australia, consistent with the requirements of both countries, while respecting Australia's sovereignty and noting Australia's ownership;
    2. new military and civilian exchanges and postings;
    3. new training initiatives and greater collaboration in areas such as counter-terrorism, cyber security and other transnational threats;
    4. greater intelligence and information-sharing in areas of common interest, such as new security challenges in counter-terrorism and extremism; and
    5. the enhancement and renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Defence Science and Technology.
  18. Given our common concern with transnational crime and terrorism, we will enhance collaboration between our law enforcement and national security agencies, including on foreign terrorist fighters and de-radicalisation.
  19. We regard cooperation in the people-to-people field as a key component of the Partnership. We will:
    1. begin exchanges of officials between our civil services;
    2. enhance cooperation between our arts, culture and heritage institutions;
    3. increase the links between our education authorities, and between our academic and research institutions; and
    4. increase cooperation on sports and youth issues.
  20. We recognise that a two-way flow of students and youth between our countries is essential to deepening and sustaining mutual understanding. Australia's New Colombo Plan is a significant initiative that will strengthen the bonds between our countries and between Australia and the region.
  21. We task our Ministers and officials to work closely to implement a roadmap for the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and report on progress towards achieving our vision for the Partnership. We also direct them to conclude both the defence cooperation agreements and a SAFTA Review by July 2016. As leaders, we will regularly review progress in implementation and provide further direction as necessary.
  22. This Joint Declaration marks the beginning of a transformative phase in our longstanding friendship. We are convinced that the Partnership will benefit our two countries and people, and contribute to stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Signed in Singapore on the 29th day of June 2015

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Singapore:

Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister

On behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia:

Tony Abbott

Prime Minister

Last Updated: 18 May 2017
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