JOURNALIST: So Steven, can you just let me know why such collaboration is important for both countries?
STEVEN CIOBO: Australia and Singapore have got a really good relationship. We've seen, of course, our trade and investment relationship, our people-to-people links really flourish, especially in the last twenty years.
This landing pad is an opportunity for Singapore and Australia to continue to collaborate together. Both countries benefit from being able to encourage more and more businesses to start up, to share knowledge, to share each country's experience and networks when it comes to things like capital to invest in businesses, or potential markets. So this landing pad is about encouraging Australian businesses to come here to Singapore, to find out more about opportunities in Singapore and beyond Singapore, and that's the real benefit that flows.
JOURNALIST: So what can Australian companies get out of Singapore?
STEVEN CIOBO: I think Singapore is recognised throughout South-East Asia as playing a really critical role. Singapore is, of course, a financial services hub, but it's much more than that. Singapore's got a really strong emphasis in relation to innovation and new technology. Look, Australia's got some great experiences in that space as well. We've had some really successful start-up businesses, we've got a lot of intellectual property, from a really good education system in Australia, it's just, I guess, the magic spot where you get that Aussie ingenuity coupled with Singaporean ingenuity, capital, market opportunities, they all come together and you see businesses thrive as a consequence.
JOURNALIST: Sorry, last question: how can Singapore then benefit from these partnerships, so Australian companies coming in?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well Singapore's really positioning itself as a gateway country throughout South-East Asia. Singapore's positioned itself as being very strong on innovation, particularly around advanced manufacturing. Today we saw an MOU that was signed with a new start-up business that's developing actual implants that people have in their body. Advanced manufacturing using 3D printing, incredible changes that are happening all around the world, and Singapore and Australia are at the cutting edge of it.
JOURNALIST: Minister, I wanted to ask you — the tourism MOU that was signed earlier today — it talks about supply-side issues. So can we expect more investments between Singapore and Australian companies in the tourism sector involved?
STEVEN CIOBO: We already, of course, work very constructively together. Singapore and Australia have very strong people flows between both countries. Singapore, of course, has some excellent hotels and businesses that are looking to invest further afield. Australia needs more investment - as a country, we need foreign capital to make sure we realise our full potential.
The MOU, that's the Memorandum of Understanding, between tourism authorities in Australia and Singapore, will help us to share knowledge. What actually motivates customers, or tourists, from countries like China, or what motivates tourists from countries in the region, to visit Singapore, to visit Australia. Can we find opportunities to work together, to attract more tourists and drive more demand? That's really the key focus.
JOURNALIST: And on the upgrade of the free trade agreement, what can companies and businesses expect with this upgraded free trade deal?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well we're now into the third iteration of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement. That's under the umbrella of the comprehensive strategic partnership between Singapore and Australia. This is a really important document. We've continued to see really strong growth in investment and trade between Australia and Singapore and vice versa. I'm very confident in this new upgraded process, now that it also embraces defence aspects, embraces of course traditional commerce, embraces strong people-to-people links, I'm very confident this will see a real, closer integration between Australia and Singapore.
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