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Trade, security on Singapore PM's agenda

by October 11, 2016 General

Malcolm Turnbull and Lee Hsien Loong are set to sign trade, defence, education and innovation plans during the Singaporean leader’s two-day visit to Canberra.

On Wednesday morning after a ceremonial welcome, Mr Lee will become the first Singaporean prime minister to address the Australian parliament.

Mr Turnbull said the first initiatives under the two nations’ 10-year comprehensive strategic partnership, launched last year, would deliver “practical benefits on trade, defence, innovation, education, law enforcement and cultural exchange”.

“The visit will highlight Australia’s strong partnership with Singapore, founded on complementary economies, multicultural societies and common interests in regional peace and prosperity,” Mr Turnbull said in a statement.

It is understood the leaders will seal a $2 billion deal in which 14,000 Singaporean troops will train for 18 weeks a year in central and northern Queensland.

The leaders are also expected to approve talks to revamp the 2003 free trade agreement, which has led to Singapore becoming Australia’s fifth-largest trading partner.

Australia is aiming to get its economic links with Singapore to be on par with that of New Zealand.

The Singaporean delegation will include the ministers for trade, defence and foreign affairs and a number of other members of parliament.

© AAP 2016

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