SINGAPORE, 28 June — Singapore and the United Kingdom started negotiations on a special digital agreement between the two countries, reported Channel News Asia.
The planned agreement for the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA) will be the first of its kind between an Asian and a European country.
The agreement will establish rules to enable trusted cross-border data flows and ensure high standards in data protection.
It was announced in a joint statement by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Communications and Information, and Infocomm Media Development Authority.
“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”.
According to The Straits Times, The agreement has been a subject of discussion between both sides since at least last year.
In February last year, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab met his counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan in Singapore, where they discussed ways to boost cooperation, including the digital economy.
In another visit to Singapore last Thursday, Raab said he hoped to quickly conclude ongoing talks for the agreement, with both countries being global leaders in the digital economy arena.
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.
This deal is not the first of its kind for Singapore, as the country signed similar digital agreements with Australia, Chile and New Zealand.
Source: CNA/The Straits Times/Agencies