Singapore, Australia sign Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to strengthen bilateral ties
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Reuters

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull signed the first set of agreements under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) in Canberra's Parliament House on Thursday.

CSP is a landmark pact that is expected to strengthen the bilateral relations between the countries in fields of trade, defence, science and narcotics control.

Out of the four key agreements that were signed, one will boost trade ties while the other three will deepen collaboration of the two countries in the areas of defence, scientific research and tackling drug trafficking.


According to the Straits times, under the trade initiative, the third upgrade of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will come into force from next year, is expected to increase accessibility to the world markets, across sectors, for companies in both the countries.

FTA is also likely to make Singapore exports qualify for tariff-free treatments easily and also reduce regulatory barriers over goods like wine, medical devices and cosmetics, reported the news agency.

The Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, said: "It signals the commitment of both governments to promote stronger economic ties by increasing the flow of goods, services, and investment between our countries".


Under the defence initiatives, Channel News Asia reported that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will be able to conduct training in Australia with 14,000 troops for 18 weeks a year. The agreement also promises larger training areas and new facilities, jointly developed by both countries, in Australia.

According to the news agency, Singapore's Ministry of Defence revealed that the new initiatives will likely help the SAF maintain operational readiness as a capable fighting force over the long term.


To promote collaboration in the science and innovation space, the monetary contribution from both the countries' governments will match and the nation will jointly provide S$50 million to fund related projects in the areas of mutual interest. The identification of these projects is likely to begin from next year.

The Straits Times reported that Australia will be setting up its fifth "landing pad" in Singapore to facilitate high-tech Australian start-ups into Asia.

Joint strategic dialogues between the two countries and tie-ups between Australia's Data61 and Singapore's universities to focus on big data and smart cities are among other collaborations.

In the field of drugs and narcotic control, both countries have decided to work together to tackle international drug trafficking, CNA reported. Australian Federal Police is all set to work with Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau to nab organised criminal groups and organise joint training for officers as well as exchange information.