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SAFTA News

May 2023

SAFTA 20th Anniversary

On 28 July 2023, SAFTA will celebrate its 20th anniversary since entry into force. Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism and his Singaporean counterpart, Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Trade and Industry met in Canberra for the 13th meeting of the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee on 1 May 2023. The Ministers looked forward to the 20th anniversary of SAFTA in July and acknowledged that it remained a modern and forward-looking agreement. They celebrated the anniversary by cutting a delicious cake together.
 

Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism and his Singaporean counterpart, Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Trade and Industry cutting a cake to celebrate SAFTA 20th anniversary.

December 2020

The Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement enters into force

On 8 December 2020, the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) entered into force.

The landmark DEA harnesses digital transformation and technology to expand trade and economic ties in our region. The DEA upgrades SAFTA’s Electronic Commerce chapter through a new Digital Economy chapter, providing modernised trade rules that assist businesses and consumers to engage with and benefit from digital trade and the digital economy.

2017

Entry into Force of the Agreement to Amend SAFTA

The Agreement to Amend SAFTA entered into force on 1 December 2017. The upgrade is a major outcome of the Singapore Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

It provides greater certainty for Australian service suppliers seeking to enter and work temporarily in Singapore. It allows Australian lawyers to practise Singapore law and to work in international commercial arbitration. It enhanced opportunities for Australia's education sector by increasing recognition of Australian tertiary qualifications.

Media release: Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Tabling of the Agreement to Amend SAFTA in the Australian Parliament

On 20 March 2017, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, then Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, tabled the text of the Agreement to Amend SAFTA, and accompanying National Interest Analysis in the Australian Parliament. The updates to SAFTA were then considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

2016

Signing the Agreement to Amend SAFTA

On 13 October 2016, in Canberra, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment and his Singaporean counterpart Mr Lim Hng Kiang Minister for Trade and Investment signed the Agreement to Amend SAFTA [PDF 2.30 MB]. This Agreement reflects the outcomes of the third review of SAFTA and formalises the trade outcomes announced on 6 May 2016 by then Prime Minister Turnbull and his Singaporean counterpart Prime Minister Lee under the auspices of the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). The amendments will enter into force once both countries have completed their domestic treaty processes.

Conclusion of Third Review of SAFTA

On 6 May 2016, Australia and Singapore announced that the Third SAFTA Review was substantially concluded. The Third SAFTA Review further integrated the two economies by locking in access and providing business certainty in trade and investment into the future. It addressed longstanding 'behind the border' issues of interest to Australian services providers, in areas such as education, labour mobility and professional services. In a number of these areas, Singapore offered Australia better commitments than it previously offered to any other trading partner. To formalise these new outcomes, officials continued technical work to prepare complete text for legal review and consideration and approval by both countries consistent with their respective domestic processes.

2015

Third review of SAFTA

In June 2015, the Prime Ministers of Australia and Singapore announced the third review of SAFTA. The Review was launched as an initiative under the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The decision by Prime Ministers reflected a commitment by both governments to advance deeper economic integration between our countries. The Review followed the conclusion of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement in October, which included both Australia and Singapore. Australia was seeking to modernise SAFTA and build on the TPP.

The SAFTA Review considered enhancements to SAFTA in areas such as goods trade, services, investment and government procurement. Public submissions on the SAFTA Review were welcomed, including comments, stakeholder input to the negotiations, background material and analytical material. Submissions had to be lodged by 15 January 2016 to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Fact Sheet

2011

Amendments to the Singapore-Australia FTA

Singapore and Australia completed the second review of SAFTA. The amendments entered into force on 2 September 2011.

The second review amended Chapters 8, 10, and 13 as well as Annexes 3A, 4-I(A), 4-II(A), 4-I(B) and 4-II(B). Key changes include:

  • Singapore and Australia to accord investors from each country fair and equitable treatment when investing in the other country
  • prohibition of performance requirements
  • • amendments to reflect changes to legislation in Australia (the Copyright Amendment Act 2006) and Singapore resulting from each country's bilateral FTA with the United States.

2009

The second ministerial review of SAFTA was concluded on 27 July 2009 in Singapore. Amendments arising from the review came into effect in 2011.

2004

The first ministerial review of SAFTA was held in Sydney on 14 July 2004.

2003

On 17 February 2003, SAFTA was signed. The final agreement was subject to parliamentary consultation processes and entered into force on 28 July 2003 following an exchange of diplomatic notes.

2002

SAFTA negotiations were launched following an announcement by both countries at the APEC Leaders' Meeting in November 2000. Ten full rounds of negotiations were held between April 2001 and October 2002.

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