Singapore and the United Kingdom Launch Negotiations on Digital Economy Agreement
Jointly issued by MTI, MCI and IMDA
Singapore and the United Kingdom (UK) have launched negotiations on a UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA). This was announced today before the videoconference between Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss.
Mr Iswaran said, “The digital economy is a catalyst for economic growth and the transformation of enterprises. It is a bright spot that has remained resilient despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am pleased that Singapore is enhancing our network of Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs) with a like-minded and digitally progressive partner like the UK. The UKSDEA will build on the momentum of the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and promote trusted, robust and connected digital markets for the benefit of our people and businesses. As the first DEA between an Asian and a European country, the UKSDEA will also enhance region-to-region digital connectivity, enabling businesses to use Singapore and the UK as digital gateways to access new opportunities in Asia and Europe.”
The UKSDEA seeks to facilitate digital trade and open up new opportunities in Singapore, the UK and our respective regions by making it easier to do business digitally between Singapore and the UK. This will include establishing forward-looking rules to enable trusted cross-border data flows, prohibit data localisation, and ensure high standards in data protection. It will also facilitate seamless digital trade and business through interoperable digital systems, connect the thriving innovation ecosystems in the UK and Singapore, and explore the use of emerging and innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recognising that cybersecurity is a key enabler of the digital economy and the smart nation, these initiatives will be undergirded by cybersecurity cooperation to promote trust and confidence in a secure and resilient digital economy.
Businesses of all sizes stand to benefit from the increased clarity and reduced transaction costs associated with seamless digital transactions. The UKSDEA also seeks to leverage Singapore’s and the UK’s strengths as innovation and financial hubs in our respective regions. Under the agreement, we aim to explore cooperation to connect our technology ecosystems, and open up opportunities for startups. We welcome feedback from businesses and consumers on areas of interest to be included in the UKSDEA.
The launch of the UKSDEA is part of a series of DEAs1 that Singapore has embarked upon. These agreements are an inter-agency effort led by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Infocomm Media Development Authority to advance collaboration in the digital economy and enhance digital connectivity.
1 The Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement with Chile and New Zealand entered into force in December 2020 and January 2021 respectively.