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Singapore and Australia sign Digital Economy Agreement

Singapore and Australia jointly announced the conclusion of negotiations for the Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) during a videoconference today.

The DEA will create a framework for deeper cooperation in the digital economy between both countries to help shape international rules, establish interoperability between digital systems and address frontier issues from emerging technologies.

Singapore’s Second Digital Economy Agreement

This is Singapore’s second DEA, after signing the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement with Chile and New Zealand in January 2020.

Singapore is aiming to establish end-to-end digital trade, enable trusted cross-border data flows and build trust in digital systems through Digital Economy Agreements with other nations.

The DEA with Australia will enable seamless data flows and prohibit data localisation except for specific purposes such as regulatory access. It will also cover other areas like E-payments, Source Code Protection and SME cooperation.

The DEA will complement Singapore’s efforts to develop multilateral rules to create an enabling environment for e-commerce as co-convenor of the World Trade Organisation Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce.

Singapore and Australia have also signed seven Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) as part of efforts to operationalise the modules stipulated in the DEA.

These MOUs will demonstrate the strong cooperation between the two countries and will identify pilot projects for collaboration that will lead to benefits for businesses and individuals in both countries.

Agreement to strengthen digital connectivity between Singapore and Australia

Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations Mr S Iswaran and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment,  Mr Simon Birmingham signed two of the MOUs on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Innovation during the videoconference.

Mr Iswaran said, “The DEA will make it easier for businesses in Singapore and Australia to operate across both countries by strengthening our digital connectivity. The seven MOUs cover emerging areas such as the ethics and governance of AI, and data driven innovation.

“They will remove barriers that companies may face in the digital economy, so that they can create new digital products and services. The DEA will also help companies access AI technologies and talent in Singapore and Australia, so that AI applications can be developed and commercialised more easily.”

Memorandum of Understanding in AI and Data Innovation

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Australia’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) will work on three key areas of Artificial Intelligence – AI Development & Deployment, Workforce & Talent and Governance & Ethics.

IMDA and DISER will also promote cross-border data innovation and demonstrate the benefits of trusted cross-border data flows by Identifying and supporting suitable cross-border data sharing projects to test innovative cross-border data sharing use cases.


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