Singapore deal a boost for services

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Singapore, with a population of around 5½ million, has become one of Australia’s most important export markets.

This reflects the island State’s high average incomes and importance as a regional hub as well as the complementarities between the Australian and Singaporean economies. The outcome has been an exceptionally wide range of our exports to Singapore.

Almost 6500 Australian businesses shipped goods worth over $8 billion in 2014/15. Our services exports exceeded $4 billion in 2015 and they were spread across a wide range of business services, tourism and transport services.

Singapore is a strong, business friendly and dynamic economy that offers plenty of scope for further expansion in trade. It is also the fifth biggest foreign investor in Australia, worth almost $100 billion at the end of 2015.

The diversity of Australian exports to Singapore stands out- the trade is not dominated by a few big ticket commodity items. This means that a large numbers of Australian businesses across a wide range of industries stand to benefit.

As tariffs and quotas have already been removed for trade in goods, the focus has been on improving access for Australian services businesses into the Singaporean market.

The rise of Australia’s service economy has been an important development in our national economic story.

Education, legal and financial services all benefit from either improved or more secure access into the Singaporean market as do certain types of professional people who will have a clear and secure ability to reside and work in each other’s country.

A wide range of qualifications issued by Australian higher education institutions will be recognised in Singapore and work is to be undertaken to increase the extent to which professional bodies recognise each other’s certification, making it easier to for residents of each country to work in the other.

For our service suppliers, the ability to establish themselves in Singapore, have their employees work in Singapore, and have their qualifications recognised by Singaporean Authorities are a key facet of this revised agreement.

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