Our relationship with Singapore

Singapore and New Zealand have a close, collaborative relationship based on shared history and interests.  There is strong economic complementarity between the only advanced small countries in the Asia-Pacific, and Singapore is among New Zealand’s top 7 markets for goods and services and source of tourists and investment.

In 2017 Singapore and New Zealand began negotiating an Enhanced Partnership that will significantly boost collaboration between the two countries in the areas of trade and economics, security and defence, people-to-people links and research, technology and innovation.  This agreement will set a new benchmark for integration in the Asia-Pacific region, building on the 2001 Closer Economic Partnership (Singapore’s first FTA and New Zealand’s second).

Beyond economic relations, Singapore is New Zealand’s closest security partner in Asia. 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 (an army battalion was based in Singapore from 1969-1989).

There are multiple other strands to the relationship across education (500 Singaporeans study in New Zealand and many New Zealand students study in Singaporean universities), science (including jointly-funded projects) and public administration.  Over 4000 New Zealanders live in Singapore, which is a South-East Asia hub for many New Zealand companies.


2016 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$2.5 billion


Exports to Singapore

$1.1 billion

Top exports: ships, floating structures, dairy products, bird eggs and honey

Imports from Singapore

$1.4 billion

Top imports: mineral fuels, tobacco and food preparations


US$297 billion

GDP per capita US$52,960 (NZ GDP per capita is US$38,345)
GDP growth  2.0%  

We're putting greater effort into innovation and research-based industry (such as biotechnology, ‘clean’ technology, IT and the creative industries), that present opportunities for Singapore's investment and global business connections.

Tourism from Singapore is on the rise - more than 55,000 Singaporeans visited New Zealand in the 12 months to January 2017, a 15% increase from the previous year. 

Free trade agreements with Singapore

We have a free trade agreement with Singapore:

And three regional free trade agreements that include Singapore:

We're also negotiating one more regional free trade agreement that includes Singapore:

In April 2017, our Foreign Ministers jointly announced negotiations towards a New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership:

  • The Enhanced Partnership will expand bilateral ties in four areas: trade and economic; science, technology and innovation; defence and security; and people to people links.
  • The first round of negotiations on the Enhanced Partnership took place in Wellington in July 2017 and the second round was held in Singapore in October 2017.

NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

As a member of ASEAN, Singapore is included in the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy. NZ Inc is the Government’s plan to strengthen New Zealand’s economic, political and security relationships with key international partners.

Find out more about the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

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).


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Singapore
  • January 2017: Prime Minister Bill English met Prime Minister Lee in Singapore
  • February 2017: Attorney-General Chris Finlayson visited Singapore
  • March 2016: Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully met with his counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
  • July 2015: Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae paid a state visit
  • May 2015: Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee attended the 14th IISS Asia Security Summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue
  • May 2015: Prime Minister John Key met Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
  • March 2015: Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae represented New Zealand at Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral
  • March 2015: Associate Minister of Trade Todd McClay attended the New Zealand Technology Showcase held in Singapore
Singapore to New Zealand
  • April 2017:  Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan visited Wellington and Auckland
  • October 2015: President Tony Tan paid a state visit
  • May 2015: Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam met with his counterpart Minister Murray McCully in Wellington 
  • January 2015: Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman visited Waiouru to observe Singapore Armed Forces troops participating in exercise Thunder Warrior
  • April 2014: Judicial Commissioner Tan visited Wellington for the Justice Symposium hosted by MP Judith Collins