NZ and Singapore reaffirm ties
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have marked the first anniversary of the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership with a virtual Leaders’ Meeting today.
The Enhanced Partnership, signed on 17 May 2019, provides the framework for cooperation across the four main areas of trade, defence and security, science and technology, and people-to-people ties.
The two leaders discussed the range of initiatives achieved since the signing of the agreement, including ratifying the New Zealand-Singapore Closer Economic Partnership (ANZSCEP) upgrade, and concluding a ground-breaking Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), alongside Chile.
Both Leaders acknowledged the close cooperation and success on a number of initiatives to enhance mutual prosperity.
“Our complementary economies and open outlook have helped us build a strong bilateral relationship over the years, which underpins the numerous agreements between us,” says Ardern.
“The COVID-19 pandemic in particular has highlighted both the importance and relevance of our long and enduring relationship.”
She says New Zealand and Singapore have worked tirelessly over the past few months to ensure critical supplies continue to reach our people and that our trade links remain open.
“Through the world-leading Declaration on Trade in Essential Goods for Combating the COVID-19 Pandemic, (signed on 15 April 2020), we took concrete steps together to remove obstacles affecting the trade of vital goods, such as medicines and food, in the face of COVID-19.”
The Prime Ministers agreed to continue implementation of the Enhanced Partnership, with a focus on priority initiatives that are meaningful and valued by both countries in the context of COVID-19.
“We will continue to strive to protect an open and inclusive rules-based order, and seek opportunities to work collectively for the common peace, stability and prosperity of our countries, and the Asia-Pacific region,” Ardern says.
Singapore became New Zealand’s second free trade partner – after Australia – following the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership in 2000.
The country is now New Zealand’s most significant trading partner in South East Asia - and our 7th largest trading partner worldwide - with NZ$5.76 billion worth of two-way trade in 2019.
It also serves as an important transport hub for New Zealand’s goods heading to markets across the globe. Many New Zealand businesses operating in South-East and East Asia use Singapore as a regional base.