The Closer Economic Partnership with Singapore was one of our most swiftly created trade agreements, taking less than a year to complete negotiations. This reflects the like-mindedness of our two countries when it comes to trade.

The CEP was our first free trade agreement to be negotiated after the Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia. It ensures trade flows freely and has helped our exports flourish – over the last ten years our exports to Singapore have increased dramatically from NZ$362m in 2004 to NZ$2.9b in December 2014.  

As our eighth largest export destination as at December 2014, Singapore is also one of our most important services and investments trading partners.

New Zealand and Singapore are also parties to the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (P4) that includes Brunei and Chile, and of AANZFTA which is between New Zealand, Australia and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Facts and figures

Singapore population: 5.4 million (2014 est)

Singapore GDP: US$308 billion (2014)

Timeline: Negotiations began in September 1999, agreement signed November 2000 and came into force in January 2001

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 

Agreement highlights

  • 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] - this study was done before formal negotiation started, and shows the potential benefits of the FTA. 

Tariff schedules in HS2012

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

Tariff schedule HS2012 – Singapore [PDF, 4.5 MB]