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Singapore-Australia FTA Ministerial Review 1 Yr On


Singapore-Australia FTA Ministerial Review One Year On

Trade Minister Mark Vaile and Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, Brigadier General George Yeo will meet in Sydney tomorrow to review the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).

Both ministers will co-chair the inaugural SAFTA Ministerial Review Meeting marking a year since the Agreement entered into force.

"In the year SAFTA has been operating, Austrade has assisted more than 160 Australian companies - many of them new exporters - to enter the Singapore market with deals worth more than $120 million," Mr Vaile said.

"As a 'living' agreement the SAFTA will need to be adjusted to keep abreast of changes in the global and regional business environment and this Ministerial Review Meeting will provide the opportunity for both sides to ensure the agreement remains relevant to business and that any outstanding issues are followed up.

"The meeting is expected to agree to a forward work program for officials to look at possible future adjustments to SAFTA with a further ministerial review expected to take place in two years.

"SAFTA builds on the strong and expanding bilateral economic partnership between Australia and Singapore. In 2003, Australian merchandise exports to Singapore were A$3.5 billion and our imports from Singapore were valued at A$4.5 billion."

SAFTA is Australia's first FTA since the conclusion of the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Agreement over 20 years ago, while the agreements Australia has negotiated with Thailand and the United States await legislative approval, with implementation planned for January 2005.

Mr Vaile and BG Yeo will address a business lunch about SAFTA at the Four Seasons Hotel following the Ministerial Review Meeting.


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