The United Kingdom has secured an agreement-in-principle with Singapore on a digital trade deal that will “capitalise on the UK’s strengths as the world’s second largest services exporter and leading digital hub”. Through the trade deal, the Government says there will be a reduction in costs, reduced bureaucratic red tape, and that it will pave the way for a “new era of trade”.
Significantly, this is the first digitally-focused trade agreement ever signed by a European nation. The agreement has been reached in record time, after six months. Both nations have been led by the UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Singapore Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran. Provisions on data transfer, digital customs processes, Artificial Intelligence, fintech R&D and regulatory co-operation have been discussed and agreed upon through the negotiations.
The United Kingdom’s trade with Singapore was valued at £16 billion in 2020, and the deal on digital trade will enable simpler access to lucrative markets in Singapore and other parts of Asia for UK companies. Additionally, the DEA is of use to the United Kingdom’s bid to join Singapore and 10 other nations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Membership would mean access to a £8.4 trillion free trade area with various opportunities for UK business.
“This cutting-edge agreement with Singapore links two of the world’s most dynamic hi-tech hubs and plays to our strengths as pioneers in digital trade”, said International Trade Secretary Anne-Maire Trevelyan.
“We welcome the Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore, which comes at the end of a successful year for UK’s leadership in this space, with UK-Japan CEPA, agreements in principle with Australia and New Zealand, as well as the G7 Digital Trade Principles”, commented Julian David, CEO of techUK.