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Singapore, EU to Accelerate Comprehensive Digital Partnership

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, agreed with the Singaporean Minister in charge of trade relations, S Iswaran to accelerate steps towards a comprehensive EU-Singapore Digital Partnership. The partnership aims to strengthen digital connectivity and interoperability of digital markets and to facilitate digital trade and investment between the EU and Singapore. It aims to address secure and sustainable digital infrastructure, trusted data flows, data innovation, the development of digital skills for workers, and the digital transformation of businesses and public services.

The partnership will accelerate steps towards a comprehensive and forward-looking Digital Partnership between the EU and Singapore. They reaffirmed their shared ambition to bring the robust and longstanding EU-Singapore relationship into the digital realm and expand bilateral digital cooperation and trade as like-minded partners.

The Digital Partnership is intended to provide an overarching framework to strengthen digital connectivity and interoperability of digital markets and policy frameworks and facilitate digital trade between the EU and Singapore. It aims to advance cooperation on the full spectrum of digital issues, including digital economy and trade, as well as key enablers for the successful digital transformation of societies and economies.

Issues that may be addressed include secure and sustainable digital infrastructure, trusted data flows and data innovation, digital regulations, the development of digital skills for workers, and the digital transformation of businesses, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and of public services. The Partnership would expand the bilateral trade and investment relationship by enhancing cooperation, building more resilient supply chains, supporting innovation and facilitating business opportunities for start-ups and SMEs. In addition, the Digital Partnership will pave the way for cooperation in new and emerging areas with transformative economic potential – such as 5G/6G, Artificial Intelligence, or digital identities.

The Digital Partnership should be a flexible structure that goes beyond dialogue and exchange of information to deliver concrete results. Ultimately, it should reinforce the people, business and trade links between the EU and Singapore and maximise the benefits of the digital economy for our communities. The Digital Partnership will also contribute to the development of a global architecture of interoperable standards at regional and multilateral settings and benefits workers and businesses engaging in digital trade and electronic commerce.

There was a positive and growing momentum towards the EU-Singapore Digital Partnership. They agreed to launch technical workshops as soon as possible to further scope the content and processes of the Digital Partnership, to work towards a political agreement in 2022.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singapore and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have launched negotiations on a new Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA) last year. The agreement seeks to deepen bilateral cooperation in new emerging digital areas, such as in personal data protection and cross-border data flows, digital identities, fintech, as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) governance frameworks. It also aims to support and foster greater collaboration between both countries’ SME communities in the digital economy.

Recently, Singapore and ROK have concluded negotiations on the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA). The KSDPA will be Singapore’s fourth Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), and the first with an Asian country. The agreement will deepen bilateral cooperation in the digital economy between both countries, by establishing forward-looking digital trade rules and norms to promote interoperability between digital systems. This will enable more seamless cross-border data flows and build a trusted and secure digital environment for our businesses and consumers.

The KSDPA is part of a series of DEAs that Singapore has embarked upon. These agreements are an inter-agency effort led by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Infocomm Media Development Authority, to advance collaboration in the digital economy and enhance digital connectivity.

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