, Singapore
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Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Trade and Industry

SG signs digital economy deal with UK

The agreement included cooperation on innovations like AI and fintech.

Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran and the United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan signed the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA), in conjunction with the inaugural meeting of the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (UKSFTA) Trade Committee.

They also agreed to start discussions on an investment protection agreement and develop a framework for green economy cooperation for 2022.

The agreement included binding disciplines on cornerstones of the digital economy such as data flows and cooperative elements in a wide range of emerging and innovative areas such as artificial intelligence, financial technology (fintech), regulations technology, digital identities, and legal technology.

Under the UKSDEA, Singapore and the UK are also pursuing memoranda of understanding and side letters, such as the recently-exchanged fintech and customs cooperation letters, that provide a dynamic framework for bilateral cooperation on forward-looking and emerging issues.

Iswaran said, "The UKSDEA will enhance Singapore's role as a trusted node in global value chains by advancing seamless end-to-end digital trade and enabling trusted data flows in secure digital environments. The expeditious signing of the ambitious and high-standard agreement reflects our strong commitment to continue enabling new growth opportunities for our people and businesses, especially SMEs. It also underscores the growing and evolving partnership between Singapore and the UK. We have already started looking into the next wave of cooperation and started discussions on green economy cooperation as well as an investment protection agreement to provide our investors with robust and up-to-date treaty protections."

The UK is Singapore's sixth-largest trading partner globally. In 2019, bilateral services trade exceeded $22b, around 70% of which could have been digitally delivered. The UK is also Singapore's second-largest European investor and European investment destination. There is over $100b worth of UK investment stock in Singapore and close to S$60 billion worth of Singapore investment stock in the UK.

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