New Zealand and Singapore have a longstanding and close relationship. We share views on trade, economic, political and security issues, and consider Singapore a key partner.

The Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) with Singapore was one of our most swiftly concluded trade agreements, taking less than a year to complete negotiations. New Zealand and Singapore are also parties to the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (P4); ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) ; and are also both signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) (external link). This reflects the like-mindedness of our two countries when it comes to trade.

The CEP was our second, and Singapore’s first, bilateral free trade agreement.  It has helped trade flow freely and our exports have flourished – between 2004 and 2014 our exports to Singapore increased dramatically from NZ$362m to NZ$2.9b. In December 2016, Singapore was our seventh largest goods trading partner, our eighth largest export destination, and the base for many New Zealand businesses operating  in South East Asia.

However, the way that business is done and the opportunities to trade have changed since the agreement was signed in 2000. In April 2017, New Zealand and Singaporean Foreign Ministers announced that we would start negotiations with Singapore on a New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership, to take the relationship to the next level. Read more about the Enhanced Partnership here (external link).

CEP upgrade negotiations

The CEP upgrade will focus on areas where it makes sense to modernise or add to the existing rules. This will allow the CEP to keep up with the changing global environment, and will also be a step towards growing New Zealand’s trade links in line with New Zealand’s Business Growth Agenda and Trade Agenda 2030.

Food will be a particular focus. We want to make it easier for food exports and imports between our two countries. Agri-food trade is already valued at more than $600 million a year. We also want to help businesses build links and promote increased investment collaboration, including for small and medium enterprises.

How to get involved

We are keen to hear from those with an interest in the CEP upgrade negotiations, including business, Māori, non-government organisations, and members of the public.

To get involved with the CEP upgrade process, or register your interest in upcoming consultation and public events, contact us by:

• Phone MFAT’s exporter helpline — 0800 824 605

• Mail   Coordinator, Singapore CEP Upgrade   Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade    Private Bag 18-901    Wellington

• Email

Facts and figures

Singapore population: 5.6 million (2016 est)

Singapore GDP: US$296 billion (2016)

Timeline: Negotiations began in September 1999, agreement signed November 2000 and came into force in January 2001. CEP upgrade was announced in April 2017.

NZ’s major exports to Singapore: milk powder, oils, animal fats, butter and beef

NZ’s major imports from Singapore: oils, light vessels, docks and platforms, food preparations, electronics, plastics and chemicals

Highlights of the existing Agreement

  • Duty free: goods made in New Zealand or Singapore can be traded between the two countries duty-free, where the product meets the Rules of Origin requirements.
  • Better access to Singapore's service sector markets such as architecture, engineering, telecommunications, finance, education and environmental services.
  • Easier for New Zealanders to buy services from Singapore such as in engineering, computing, transport, dental, environment and some business services.
  • Easier entry into Singapore for business visitors and temporary residency for corporate employees.
  • Government procurement is included in the agreement ensuring New Zealand businesses can compete with Singapore businesses for government contracts on a level playing field.
  • Reduced business costs and red tape around customs processing, competition law and technical and quarantine standards.
  • A clear process to settle disputes related to the CEP.

Using the Agreement

Businesses trading in goods

Use the Tariff Finder (external link) to find out:

  1. the tariff classification for the good
  2. the tariff commitments
  3. the Rules of Origin (ROO)
  4. how to get a Certificate of Origin
  5. what FTA to use if there are more than one to choose from

Read the Customs fact sheet for the NZ Singapore CEP Rules of Origin #19 (external link)

Service sector businesses

Use Annex 2 of the CEP to find out:

  1. how services are classified
  2. if there are limits on national treatment or market access for your service
  3. if there are any additional commitments for your service

CEP Annex 2 - Schedules of specific services commitments:


Read Part 6 of the CEP [PDF, 233 KB] to find out what the CEP means for investors.

Deciding which FTA to use

New Zealand has three trade agreements with Singapore – CEP, P4 and AANZFTA.  You’ll need to decide which one to use when doing business with Singapore.  The Tariff Finder (external link) will help you decide.

To understand the difference between the agreements use this NZIER study [PDF, 130 KB]

Media and resources

Full text of the NZ Singapore CEP [PDF, 823 KB]

National Interest Analysis [PDF, 219 KB] 

Tariff schedules in HS2012

Tariff schedule HS2012 – New Zealand [PDF, 3 MB]

Tariff schedule HS2012 – Singapore [PDF, 4.5 MB]