Our relationship with Singapore

2015 marked the 50 year anniversary of our diplomatic relations with Singapore (NZ’s close relationship goes back much further than 50 years).

Both countries have open economies and we often take similar views internationally and regionally on trade issues. Singapore is a founding member of the Association of South-East Nations (ASEAN) - providing us with valuable insights into ASEAN thinking and processes - and it was a central player in establishing the ASEAN Australia New Zealand FTA.

Singapore is New Zealand’s second largest defence partner in the Asia-Pacific and our armed forces exercise and train together regularly. 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 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.


2014 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$3 billion


Exports to Singapore

$1 billion

Top exports: milk powder, crude petroleum oils, fat of cattle, sheep, and goats

Imports from Singapore

$2 billion

Top imports: non-crude petroleum oils, waste oil and biodiesel, light-vessels and floating docks, food preparations


US$308 billion

GDP per capita US$56,319 (NZ GDP per capita is US$43,837)
GDP growth  2.9%  

Today Singapore is our ninth largest goods trading partner, our eighth largest export destination, and the base for many New Zealand businesses operating throughout South East Asia. Our free trade agreement with Singapore, signed in 2001, remains one of our most comprehensive trade agreements.

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 43,000 Singaporeans visited New Zealand in the 12 months to January 2014, a 20% 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:

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
  • 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
  • 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