SAFTA updates have had a significant impact on product exports, including spirit drinks and health and cosmetic products, as well as exporters of medical/cosmetics and cosmetics products. All Australian and Singaporean products have been duty-free since the introduction of SAFTA, but recent changes have allowed distributors in both countries to receive preferential treatment under the agreement. Singapore has given Australia its best free trade treatment and has put our exporters on an equal footing or better footing than our foreign competitors. Singapore has also agreed to recognize the Doctor Juris degrees of Australian universities, currently listed in SAFTA, giving access to universities that have moved to a model of postgraduate legal training. SAFTA is a mutual agreement and Australian products or manufacturers get the same duty-free entry in Singapore. SAFTA will also reduce the administrative burden on investors in Singapore, Australia`s fifth largest source of foreign investment, by harmonizing the Foreign Investment Review Board`s screening thresholds for Singapore with the thresholds agreed under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement for the Foreign Investment Review Board. SAFTA updates have also had a significant impact on services exports to Australia, with Singapore being the fifth destination. Educational services from Australia, their third largest export, are an option that is increasingly popular with Singapore students and is positively influenced by SAFTA updates. Due to the strong Singapore dollar and Australia`s large Asian population, more and more students are travelling to Australia to study. SAFTA has also been updated to establish a comprehensive schedule of product-specific rules of origin to simplify management and reduce compliance costs for distributors under the agreement.
This update is much simpler than the original 50 percent content rule used in SAFTA, which means that 50 percent of the value of the products must be added either in Australia or Singapore to get preferential treatment. This method of rules of origin was very complex and required a detailed assessment of production costs and sources of production. This method was also very costly for businesses, as it often required sophisticated accounting systems and the ability to solve complex accounting issues. Singaporean companies also have the right to award contracts by the Australian federal government and the eight Australian states and territories. In addition, according to the update, Singapore investors are not required to obtain approval from Australia`s Foreign Investment Review Board for investments worth $1.12 billion in “insensitive” Australian industrial sectors. SAFTA offers a wide range of Australian exporters greater opportunities in goods and services, further strengthens trade and investment relations, eliminates Singapore tariffs and offers Australian companies cheaper inputs for a number of products. Austrade can help Australian companies become familiar with local market conditions and help develop export opportunities through a number of market and Australian services. The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was signed on 17 February 2003 and provides for duty-free importation of Singapore products into Australia. Australia and Singapore will also create a framework under saFTA to support mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Agreements are a priority for engineers and accountants, with Singapore and Australia agreeing to enter into negotiations on mutual recognition agreements.
Singapore is one of the world`s most prosperous countries and Australia`s largest trading and investment partner in Southeast Asia. On 13 October 2016, Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment, and his Singaporean counterpart L