Singapore – Australia signed Green Economy Agreement
To boost cooperation on climate investment, financing and technology, Australia and Singapore signed a green economy deal at the 7th Singapore-Australia Leaders’ Meeting in Canberra. The meeting follows discussions between Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the sixth Australia- Singapore Annual Leaders’ Meeting in June 2021 that the two countries should explore a bilateral GEA with seven areas of cooperation: trade and investment; standards and conformance; green and transition finance; carbon markets; clean energy, decarbonisation and technology; skills and capabilities; and business engagements and partnerships.
Under the Singapore-Australia Green Economy Agreement, both countries will embark on 17 joint initiatives to develop a list of environmental goods and services to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers. The GEA (Green Economy Agreement) also will look at practical initiatives to promote and facilitate trade and investment, including lowering the regulatory burden on businesses. It aims to remove non-tariff barriers to trade in environmental goods and services and to accelerate the uptake of low-emissions green technology.
PM Lee said the agreement would support the transition of both countries to net-zero emissions, boost growth and create jobs in the green sector. It sets out seven areas of cooperation: trade and investment; standards and conformance; green and transition finance; carbon markets; clean energy, decarbonisation and technology; skills and capabilities; and business engagements and partnerships.
Another initiative plans to work together on best practices for sustainable agri-food systems to reduce their environmental impact and address food security. Currently, Singapore is importing more than 90 per cent of its food, and it is looking to shore up against global food supply shocks by producing 30 per cent of its food locally by 2030. It is also noteworthy that Singapore and Australia signed a digital economy agreement (SADEA) in 2020. SADEA & GEA brings people and businesses of both countries closer together.
Singapore was the first country to approve the sale of cell-based meat in December 2020. Cell-cultured chicken is meat from chicken cells grown in a bioreactor – similar to the vats used in brewing beer – thus doing away with slaughtering actual chickens. The California food technology firm Eat Just’s Good Meat division just broke ground on its upcoming 30,000 sq ft facility – about half the size of a football field – in food industry hub Bedok Food City. The cultivated chicken was approved for sale in 2020 but has been available in limited quantities – this is the first step towards commercial production. Once operational in the first quarter of next year, the $61 million Bedok plant will house a 6,000-litre bioreactor – the largest one in the cultivated meat industry to date – which will produce tens of thousands of kilograms of the novel chicken each year.
Research and development in novel foods and alternative proteins have recently gained traction in Singapore as the Republic boosts its food security and sustains food. Interestingly, Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has also announced that it could allow “specific species of insects with a history of human consumption” to be served as food.
The Benefits of the Green Economy Agreement
The GEA will benefit workers and businesses in both countries, with the partnership building towards regional and multilateral trade and environmental sustainability policies. As the world increasingly looks towards green energy solutions, individuals and industry stakeholders must be ready to take advantage of economic developments and investment opportunities in the green economy.