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UK- Singapore Digital Economy Agreement in Effect

Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies of Singapore announced the start date of the United Kingdom (UK) – Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA). This is Singapore’s third DEA following the completion of domestic ratification processes between the two countries.

The UKSDEA was signed early this year by S Iswaran, who oversees trade relations, and Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who oversees international trade for the UK. Since then, the UK and Singapore have worked quickly to finish the legal requirements and other steps needed for the agreement to go into effect.

The UKSDEA will help our businesses engage seamlessly with those in the UK as internationalisation is a key growth enabler of our companies. We are looking forward to working with the government and our counterpart associations in the UK to translate the agreement into actionable connections that our companies can leverage.

– Yean Cheong, Executive Director, SGTech

Cheong added that digital agreements are an essential foundation for global digital trade, and they believe that layering the means to enable trusted cross-border transactions and data exchange, via digital trust, can strengthen and amplify this foundation. SGTeach is one of the companies that make up UKSDEA.

The entry into force of the UKSDEA reflects the UK and Singapore’s strong commitment to opening new growth opportunities for Singapore businesses in the digital economy. End-to-end digital trade benefits businesses, such as safe and secure e-payments and paperless trading, as well as seamless and trusted data flows, which encourage participation in the digital economy. Consumers will benefit from improved online consumer protection and safe and secure cross-border payments.

Singapore and the United Kingdom have also signed three Memorandums of Understanding and exchanged two side letters as part of their efforts to pursue collaborative projects on forward-thinking and emerging issues under the UKSDEA.

UKSDEA Highlights

Singapore and the United Kingdom will assist the development of safe and secure cross-border E-payments by supporting open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), adopting internationally accepted standards, and promoting interoperability between E-payment systems.

The two countries will accept also electronic versions of trade administration paperwork to encourage digitisation and the sharing of vital commercial documents. Both sides will also attempt to facilitate the digitisation of cross-border supply chains. It enables electronic commerce and other digitally-enabled activities such as data analytics and artificial intelligence, data flow is becoming increasingly crucial to the expansion of the global economy.

Singapore and the United Kingdom will implement regulations against data localisation requirements and allow businesses to pick where their data is housed. They will ensure access to submarine cable systems and associated infrastructure such as landing stations, and expedient installation, maintenance, and repair. These systems and facilities facilitate national, regional, and global communications.

To stimulate innovation in this new data-driven age, especially by SMEs, both countries will make public government information machine-readable and open, with easy-to-use and free Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

On the other hand, to ensure that cryptography-using enterprises can trust their market, stimulate innovation, and protect private keys and related technology, neither country will require their transfer or access as a condition of market entry. To foster innovation and protect company source code, neither country will compel the transfer or access to source code as a condition of market entry.

SMEs boost competitiveness and economic vitality; Singapore and the UK will promote jobs and growth for SMEs and will remove any barriers to participating in the digital economy


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