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Singapore Launches Digital Economy Agreement Negotiations with EFTA

Singapore has launched negotiations on a digital economy agreement (DEA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The announcement was made through a videoconference between Singapore’s Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, S Iswaran, EFTA representatives, and the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Norway to Geneva.

Singapore and EFTA share strong trade and investment relations that are underpinned by a previous free trade agreement signed in 2003. The DEA will allow Singapore and EFTA to advance cooperation in the digital domain, including advancing end-to-end trade, enabling trusted data flows, and facilitating a trusted and secure digital environment.

The digital economy agreement between Singapore and EFTA will enable the two entities to unlock new opportunities in the digital realm for both their people and businesses. The agreement will also establish frameworks to promote more seamless cross-border digital trade, connectivity, and data flows between EFTA and Singapore. It will build on and complement ongoing plurilateral efforts, including negotiations on the WTO Joint Statement Initiative on E-Commerce.

The DEA is expected to strengthen the already strong and growing bilateral economic relationship between Singapore and the EFTA states. This will help to advance cooperation in the digital domain, which is a critical aspect to unlocking the full potential of the digital economy which is an essential pillar of economic growth in Singapore. In addition, the DEA will allow Singapore to deepen its economic engagement with EFTA, which will help drive growth and job creation.

The DEA negotiations will focus on facilitating digital trade, promoting the development of the digital economy, and ensuring the protection of personal data. The agreement will also cover issues such as cybersecurity, e-commerce, and digital payments. It is expected to create new opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups in Singapore and EFTA states by reducing barriers to trade and promoting cross-border trade in digital services.

The DEA negotiations are part of Singapore’s broader strategy to strengthen its position as a hub for digital innovation and growth. Singapore has been actively working to develop its digital economy, and the DEA is a critical part of this effort. The agreement will allow Singapore to expand its economic reach beyond Asia and into Europe, providing new opportunities for businesses and investors.

The DEA negotiations with EFTA are part of Singapore’s broader strategy to deepen its economic engagement with key partners around the world. Singapore has been actively pursuing free trade agreements with countries and regions such as the European Union, the United States, and Australia. These agreements are designed to help Singapore diversify its economic relationships and reduce its dependence on any single market.

The launch of negotiations on the digital economy agreement between Singapore and EFTA is a significant development for both parties. The agreement is expected to deepen economic ties between Singapore and the EFTA states and promote the development of the digital economy in both regions.

The agreement will provide new opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups in Singapore and EFTA states and help to strengthen Singapore’s position as a hub for digital innovation and growth. These negotiations are part of Singapore’s broader approach to deepen economic engagement with strategic partners around the world and diversify its economic relationships.

Mr Tan Kiat How, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information, at a recent gathering, acknowledged that country recognises the importance of global cooperation to preserve trust in the digital ecosystem.

It has been pursuing Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs) with like-minded partners, which align digital rules and standards. The nation led the development of ASEAN Model Contractual Clauses, which facilitate the cross-border transfer of data across the region. The government is also working with partners to promote the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules globally.


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