Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

26 July, 2009

Singapore Australia Joint Ministerial Committee

Stephen Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs, John Faulkner, Minister for Defence, and Simon Crean, Minister for Trade, will visit Singapore on Monday 27 July for the sixth Singapore Australia Joint Ministerial Committee (SAJMC) meeting.

The Singapore Australia Joint Ministerial Committee brings together six senior Ministers from Australia and Singapore in a formal dialogue to discuss foreign, strategic, defence, trade and economic issues relevant to both countries.

Singapore will be represented at the meeting by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Foreign Affairs, George Yeo, and Minister for Trade, Lim Hng Kiang.

Singapore and Australia are natural partners in our region, with a bilateral relationship founded on long-standing Commonwealth, education, defence, political, tourism and trade links.  Singapore is Australia's fourth largest two-way trading partner, with total two-way trade valued at $31 billion in 2008.

The SAJMC provides an excellent opportunity to engage with Singapore across a range of regional and strategic issues.  Singapore has recently taken on the role of country coordinator for ASEAN's relations with Australia, and Singapore remains a key partner for Australia on regional issues.

Australia and Singapore also have a strong bilateral defence relationship, covering a comprehensive range of activities, including personnel exchanges, training and exercises. Singapore has also provided support to Australian Defence Force operations in Afghanistan.

Ministers will also discuss regional and international economic issues during the SAJMC and will conclude the Second Ministerial Review of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), one of Australia's most comprehensive free trade agreements.
The Singapore Australia Joint Ministerial Committee will also provide a forum to inject momentum into a number of bilateral initiatives, including business, science and educational linkages and cooperation on social policy issues.

Ministers will also meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong while in Singapore.

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