Skip to main content


Decorative image

Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement - James Cook University case study

James Cook University (JCU) has a special relationship with Singapore; aside from educating the many students who have travelled to JCU's Australian campuses, JCU has significantly invested in teaching Singaporean students at its Singapore campus for more than 14 years, and is now building up its research capability in Singapore.

James Cook University has been in Singapore since 2003, and has grown its presence, research capability, and engagement with the city-state. In 2016, Singapore granted JCU's Singapore campus 'University Status'. This was one of the first outcomes of Singapore and Australia's work to renew the Singapore Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) under the Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).

JCU is the only Australian institution in Singapore to be recognised as a 'University' to date. According to JCU's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding this

"recognition is the realisation of a long-held dream for JCU – to be one university in two countries with three tropical campuses".

JCU believes its strengths in world-class marine science and aquaculture, tropical medicine, and allied and public health, complement Singapore's education and research strengths.

"By combining our research and education expertise, Singapore and Australia can work together to overcome challenges faced by both our countries", according to Dale Anderson, Head of JCU's Singapore Campus.

These challenges include the need for healthcare talent, caring for our aging populations, and countering the threat of infectious diseases.

The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), which entered into force in 2003, is Australia's second oldest FTA.

The upgrade to SAFTA is our most comprehensive update to an Australian FTA to date. As a result:

  • our business people will be able to work and stay more easily in Singapore;
  • investors and exporters will benefit from harmonised rules and less red tape; and
  • new opportunities will open up for Australia's world-class education and services sectors.

The Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, announced in 2015, provided the impetus to modernise SAFTA.

April 2018

Last Updated: 23 April 2018
Back to top