29 November 2022

On 13 November 2022, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MTI”) announced that negotiations between ASEAN Member States and Australia and New Zealand to upgrade the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (“AANZFTA” or “Agreement”). This is the first instance ASEAN has upgraded one of its free trade agreements (“FTAs”) with its dialogue partners since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The upgraded AANZFTA will ensure that the Agreement remains responsive to emerging challenges.

The upgraded Agreement introduces new features to Singapore and ASEAN FTAs, including commitments on working together to ensure the continued flow of essential goods during times of crisis, new commitments on sterilisation to support bulk breaking operations, education services cooperation and a standalone chapter on trade and sustainable development. It is envisaged that these new features will ease business operations to operate during times of crises in enabling them to better plug into regional value chains while promoting a more conducive environment for businesses.

The AANZFTA effectively creates a free trade area of over 710 million people with a combined GDP of more than USD 4.5 trillion. Singapore-based companies will benefit from the upgraded AANZFTA’s improvements, namely in more facilitative rules in trade in goods, rules of origin, customs procedures, investment, trade in services and e-commerce, among others.

Reference materials

The MTI press release on this development is available on the MTI website www.mti.gov.sg by clicking here.