AMENDMENTS to the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) passed both houses of Parliament yesterday (October 19).
In a statement, trade minister Steven Ciobo said the amended SAFTA reduce unnecessary red tape for Australian exporters.
“Singapore has given Australia its best trade agreement treatment, putting our exporters on equal or better footing than our foreign competitors,” Mr Ciobo said.
“[The amended SAFTA will] make it easier for Australian traders to claim preferential treatment under the Agreement by modernising procedures and allowing traders to self-certify that their goods meet the rules of origin.”
He said the changes would benefit Australians wishing to use Singapore as a gateway to export to the rest of South East Asia.
“Australian businesses tendering for Singaporean Government contracts will be more competitive for high-value contracts in sectors such as road transport, construction and engineering,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Ciobo is on his way to Hong Kong to further progress the Australia-Hong Kong free Trade Agreement (A-HKFTA) in a meeting with the territory’s chief executive Carrie Lam and secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau.
Mr Ciobo said an FTA with Hong Kong would provide greater market access and investor certainty to Australian and Hong Kong businesses and create new opportunities for Australian exporters.