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Singapore and Australia set to intensify cooperation in the green economy

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*Singapore and Australia set to intensify cooperation in the green economy

*Shared  from the Singapore Straits Times

CANBERRA – Singapore and Australia are set to intensify cooperation in the green economy, targeting new areas such as sustainable agriculture and green shipping corridors, with the signing of a trailblazing agreement on Tuesday.

Under the Singapore-Australia Green Economy Agreement, both countries will embark on 17 joint initiatives for a start, such as developing a list of environmental goods and services with an eye to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers. It will reduce hurdles to cross-border trade in clean energy, for instance.

Other highlights include a partnership to promote business engagements in trade and investment in green sectors, and research collaboration in areas such as alternative proteins and lithium battery recycling.

The signing, witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, was the key outcome of the 7th Singapore-Australia Leaders’ Meeting held in Canberra on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, PM Lee said the agreement will support the transition of both countries to net-zero emissions, and boost growth and create jobs in the green sector.

“It’s the first such agreement of its kind between countries, and we hope that it will be a pathfinder for other countries similarly to cooperate with one another to deal with what’s a global problem,” he said.

Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong and Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell signed the agreement at the Parliament House after a delegation meeting on Tuesday.

Australia and Singapore have developed a list of 372 environmental goods and 155 environmental services, which is non-exhaustive and will be reviewed periodically, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

They also agreed to set up joint working groups for electricity trade and aviation environmental cooperation, as well as to establish a forum for government experts to discuss the skills needed for green jobs.

Other initiatives include building partnerships to advance green shipping corridors, which are zero-emission sea routes between ports. There are also plans to work together on best practices for sustainable agri-food systems, with the aim of reducing their impact on the environment and addressing food security.

With the agreement being a significant new area of cooperation, a new, sixth green economy pillar will be added to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership framework, a broad-ranging agreement to deepen engagement established in 2015.

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