Plans for a UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA)—the first such agreement between an Asian and European country—were first announced in December.
Brexit may still be causing supply-chain bottlenecks and labor shortages, but the UK government is eager to press on with its “Global Britain” agenda by securing new trade agreements, including one on digital trade with Singapore.
Plans for a UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA)—the first such agreement between an Asian and European country—were first announced in December, after the two countries signed a Free Trade Agreement. Singapore already has a DEA with Australia, New Zealand and Chile.
A DEA would see the two countries focus on developing export rules for digital goods and services, which include cybersecurity, fintech and data flows. Negotiations on a DEA between the two countries commenced in June. Explaining the rationale behind the agreement, the UK’s International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, stated: “Singapore and the UK are both global leaders in the digital economy, and our bilateral trade was worth £17 billion in 2019, with 70% of services exports digitally delivered.”
Speaking at the Pacific Future Forum’s October 20-21 international defense, security, trade and technology summit, Natalie Black, the UK’s trade commissioner for Asia Pacific, said she hoped to make an announcement about progress on the DEA before the end of the year.
The DEA would be a major boon for UK companies, giving them access to Singapore’s digital economy, which was worth an estimated £9.4 billion in 2019. The agreement is expected to deepen cooperation between the two countries on fintech, digital trading, and areas such as artificial intelligence (AI).