Singapore and Australia share longstanding and multifaceted relations. Australia was among the first countries to recognise our independence. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2015. Both countries also work closely in multilateral forums and enjoy warm people-to-people relations.
Our close relationship was elevated with the establishment of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) in 2015. The CSP is a broad-ranging agreement that serves to deepen engagement across five pillars: Economics and Trade, Defence and Foreign Affairs, People-to-People, Science and Innovation, and Digital Economy.
Australia is an important economic partner for Singapore. Trade and investment links between both countries are strong. The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was signed on 17 February 2003 and entered into force on 28 July 2003. A revised Agreement entered into force in December 2017. In August 2020, Singapore and Australia signed the Digital Economy Agreement to boost bilateral cooperation in trade facilitation, digital identities, fintech, and e-payments. We share a close relationship on tax matters and an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation was entered into force on February 1969. Both countries deepened our tax cooperation by commencing the first automatic exchange of financial account information and country-by-country reports in 2018.
Singapore and Australia enjoy close defence ties, founded on substantive interactions and common perspectives on many issues. The Singapore Armed Forces trains in Australia, both unilaterally and bilaterally with the Australian Defence Force. In March 2020, Singapore and Australia signed the Treaty on Military Training and Training Area Development, a key deliverable of the CSP. Building on 30 years of Singapore’s training in Australia, the Treaty underpins the A$2.25 billion investment to jointly develop military training areas, as well as advanced training facilities in Central and North Queensland, which will benefit both armed forces and deepen defence cooperation. Singapore and Australia also cooperate closely in multilateral forums such as the Five Power Defence Arrangements and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.
Singapore and Australia have cooperated closely to tackle the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have collaborated on contact tracing technologies, supply chain connectivity and the repatriation of our peoples. Both Singapore and Australia are parties to plurilateral statements that reaffirm our commitment to maintain trade flows for essential goods, including: (a) the Joint Ministerial Statement on Supply Chain Connectivity issued in
March 2020; and (b) Joint Ministerial Statement on Flow of Goods and Services and the Essential Movement of People issued in May 2020. Singapore and Australia are co-sponsors of the Joint Statement on Open Markets, Flow of Essential Goods and Supply Chain Connectivity issued by the UN on 20 May 2020.