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Singapore, UK begin talks on digital economy agreement

Singapore, UK begin talks on digital economy agreement

People sitting along the pier against the city skyline in Singapore. (Photo: Roslan Rahman/AFP)

SINGAPORE: Singapore and the United Kingdom have launched negotiations on a digital economy agreement between the countries. 

The UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA) will be the first such agreement between an Asian and a European country.

"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," the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Communications and Information and the Infocomm Media Development Authority said on Monday (Jun 28).

"This will include establishing forward-looking rules to enable trusted cross-border data flows, prohibit data localisation, and ensure high standards in data protection."

Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran said the digital economy has been “a bright spot that has remained resilient despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic”.  

"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,” added Mr Iswaran.

British Trade Minister Elizabeth Truss said a “cutting-edge deal with Singapore will keep (the UK) at the forefront of the technological revolution". 

"Singapore and the UK are both global leaders in the digital economy and 70 per cent of UK services exports, from financial and legal services to music streaming and e-books, were digitally delivered to Singapore in 2019, worth £3.2 billion (S$6 billion)," Ms Truss said in a joint release with UK's Department of International Trade. 

Singapore has signed similar digital agreements with Australia, Chile and New Zealand. 

Source: CNA/vc(rw)

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