Our relationship with Singapore

Singapore and New Zealand have a close and collaborative relationship based on shared history and interests. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relationship in 2015, which also marked the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence.

Singapore is an important defence and security partner. The Five Power Defence Arrangement underpins the regular exercising and training between our armed forces and the enduring presence of New Zealand defence personnel in Singapore. During World War II, New Zealand aviators played a significant role in the defence of Singapore. From 1969-89 we had an infantry battalion and air units based in Singapore, and in May 2009 our two countries signed a Defence Cooperation Arrangement further formalising the close defence ties between us. Immediately following the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011, Singapore Air Force troops exercising in the South Island took part in search and rescue efforts.

As the only two advanced small countries in the Asia-Pacific, there is strong economic complementarity between New Zealand and Singapore. Singapore is New Zealand’s 7th largest trading partner and an important source of investment. Many New Zealand businesses operating in South-East and East Asia use Singapore was a base.

There are multiple other strands to the relationship across science and innovation, education and tourism. New Zealand and Singaporean research communities have longstanding links, especially in areas of food and nutrition. Approximately 500 Singaporeans study in New Zealand and many New Zealand students study in Singaporean universities. Tourism from Singapore is also on the rise – approximately 61,000 Singaporeans visited New Zealand in 2018, and the number is growing at about 6 percent. More than 4,000 New Zealanders live in Singapore.

New Zealand–Singapore Enhanced Partnership

In May 2019, New Zealand and Singapore launched the Enhanced Partnership that will significantly boost collaboration between the two countries in the areas of trade and economic; security and defence; science and innovation; and people-to-people.

Read more about the Enhanced Partnership.

 

Trade

2018 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$3.32 billion

 

Exports to Singapore

$1.26 billion

Top exports: Dairy, Oil,   Animal Fats, Food Preparations and Wood   

Imports from Singapore

$2.06 billion

Top imports: Oil, Food Preparations, Tobacco, Plastics and Machinery

Singapore’s Economic Indicators

GDP

US$361.1billion

 

GDP per capita

US$61,766

(NZ GDP per capita is US$42,382)

GDP growth 

3.2%

 

Free trade agreements with Singapore

Officials from Singapore and New Zealand have upgraded our bilateral free trade agreement with Singapore, which is due to be signed in 2019:  

There are three regional free trade agreements that New Zealand and Singapore are parties to:

We are also negotiating a fourth regional free trade agreement that includes Singapore:

Singapore and ASEAN

Singapore is a founding member of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Singapore is included in the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy, which is the Government’s plan to strengthen New Zealand’s economic, political and security relationships with ASEAN.  

Find out more about the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy (external link)

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a six-month working holiday visa for Singapore.

For more information, read the Singapore Ministry of Manpower website (external link).

Embassies

Recent visits

New Zealand to Singapore

  • March 2019: Minister for Infrastructure Shane Jones led an Infrastructure NZ Delegation to Singapore and met with National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
  • November 2018: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited Singapore to attend the East Asia Summit and met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
  • November 2018: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters visited Singapore to attend the East Asia Summit and met with Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
  • November 2018: Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor visited Singapore to attend the 2nd RCEP Leaders’ Summit, the Singapore International Fintech Festival and the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.
  • November 2018: Minister of Justice Andrew Little visited Singapore to meet with Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam.
  • October 2018: Minister of Defence Ron Mark visited Singapore to attend the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and met with Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen.
  • October 2018: Minister of Trade and Export Growth David Parker visited Singapore to attend an RCEP Ministerial Meeting and met with Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.
  • August 2018: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters visited Singapore to attend the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and met with Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
  • July 2018: Minister of Climate Change James Shaw visited Singapore to address the Clean Environment Summit and met with Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli and Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.
  • June 2018: Former Minister of Digital Media Clare Curran visited Singapore to attend the Straits Digital Exchange and met with Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran.
  • June 2018: Minister of Defence Ron Mark visited Singapore to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue and met with Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen.
  • April 2018: Speaker Trevor Mallard led a Parliamentary Delegation to Singapore and made a courtesy call on President Halimah Yacob and met with Deputy Speaker Lim Biow Chuan.
  • April 2018: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters visited Singapore to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chan Sing.
  • March 2018: Minister of Education Chris Hipkins visited Singapore to meet with Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng.
  • February 2018: Minister of Finance Grant Robertson visited Singapore to meet with Minister of Finance Heng Swee Keat, Second Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong and Minister Chan Chun Sing in his capacity as Secretary-General of the National Trade Union Congress.
  • January 2018: Minister for Energy and Resources Megan Woods visited Singapore to attend the Asia-Pacific Energy Assembly. 
  • January 2017: Former Prime Minister Bill English visited Singapore to meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
  • July 2015: Former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae made a State Visit to Singapore to mark the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations between New Zealand and Singapore
  • May 2015: Former Prime Minister John Key visited Singapore to meet with Prime Minister Lee      Hsien Loong.
  • March 2015: Former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae visited Singapore to attend the funeral of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Singapore to New Zealand

  • March 2018: Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen visited New Zealand to meet with Minister of Defence Ron Mark and attend an Asia New Zealand Foundation Meeting.
  • March 2018: Minister for Communications, Information and Cyber Security Yaacob Ibrahim visited New Zealand to meet with former Minister of Broadcasting, Communications, Digital Media and Government Digital Services Clare Curran and Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin.
  • April2017: Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan visited New Zealand to meet with former Prime Minister Bill English, former Foreign Minister Murray, former Trade Minister Todd McClay, former Finance Minister Joyce, former Health Minister Coleman and former Attorney General Chris Finlayson.
  • October 2015: Former President Tony Tan Keng Yam made a State Visit to New Zealand to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and New Zealand.
  • May 2015: Former Minister of Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam visited Wellington to meet with former Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
  • January 2015: Minister of State for Defence Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman visited Waiouru to observe Singapore Armed Forces troops participating in exercise Thunder Warrior.