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Singapore Strengthens International Economic Partnerships

Following Canada’s formal application to enter the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), DEPA’s Joint Committee has decided to start the accession process for the nation. Hence, to manage Canada’s accession, the Joint Committee established the Accession Working Group (AWG).

“Singapore welcomes Canada’s application to join DEPA and looks forward to having more aspirant economies join the agreement. With countries recovering from COVID19 which has accelerated digital transformation, more businesses will benefit from the interoperability across systems that DEPA fosters as well as the benchmark it provides for international trade rules. These will help support businesses with their digitalisation and internationalisation efforts,” says Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Trade and Industry.

The AWG, which will be chaired by New Zealand, will assess Canada’s accession proposal, have talks on its ability to comply with DEPA’s standards and obligations, and make a report to the Joint Committee on the proposed terms and conditions of Canada’s accession.

An aspiring economy will be required to demonstrate to the AWG (comprised of government representatives from DEPA member nations) its efforts to date and the adjustments that will be made to its domestic laws and regulations, if any, to comply with DEPA responsibilities. The current members of DEPA are Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. Singapore is presiding over the Republic of Korea-related AWG discussions, which are currently ongoing.

Meanwhile, with the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding, Singapore and Brunei decided to intensify their collaboration in the areas of energy, the green economy, and the resilience of the food and medical supply (MoUs).

According to Minister Gan, the signing of the two MoUs to enhance bilateral cooperation in energy, the green economy, and food and medical supply resilience signals the two countries shared interest in guiding their respective futures toward greater sustainability and resilience. To better prepare for the future, he continued, Singapore will work with Brunei, with whom it has a close friendship, to explore potential areas of cooperation.

With the goal of achieving both countries’ climate ambitions, decarbonising industries, and enabling economic growth in a low-carbon future, the MoU on Cooperation in Energy and Green Economy will strengthen bilateral cooperation in the following areas: energy and the green economy, emerging low-carbon technologies like hydrogen and solar, carbon capture and storage, and carbon markets.

The MoU on Strengthening Trade and Investment Collaboration in Food and Medical Products demonstrates both nations’ commitment to fostering cooperation and boosting the resilience of their populations’ food and medical supply systems.

This involves building the capacity and competence for mutual support in times of disaster, such as supporting the efficient flow of food and medicine between Singapore and Brunei.

Both nations agreed to create a Joint Committee under the direction of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Brunei to oversee the development of the cooperation outlined in the MOUs.

Furthermore, another MoU was recently signed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry with Colombia’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. This is the first collaborative agreement between Singapore and a Latin American nation about carbon credits.

The MoU will stimulate, develop, and support joint projects of mutual interest including carbon credits. These projects could promote the generation and distribution of carbon offsets for use in achieving the climate goals of Singapore and Colombia.

According to Minister Gan, the signing of the MoU demonstrates Singapore and Colombia’s shared resolve to collaborate on a framework agreement for carbon credit projects in line with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. They feel that international collaboration, such as this agreement between Singapore and Colombia, is essential for boosting global climate action to accomplish the Paris Agreement’s objectives.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia shall form a work group to oversee the execution of this memorandum of understanding.

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