The UK and Singapore have recently begun negotiations for a bold digital trade agreement that would essentially erase barriers to digital trade, an action that would allow exporters of the UK to further expand into high-tech markets. Negotiations will begin with a video call between the UK’s International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, and Singaporean Minister of Transport who is in charge of trade relations, S. Iswaran.
These negotiations mark the UK as the first European state to start negotiations regarding a Digital Economy Agreement (DEA). These two states are top global leaders for the digital economy. In 2019, a whopping 70 percent of services exported from the UK to Singapore were delivered digitally. These services ranged from financial industries to the streaming of music and other forms of entertainment, coming in at a total valuation of £3.2 billion.
This DEA between the UK and Singapore would widen opportunities for British enterprises to distribute their services through digital trade. With the agreement, trade could occur more efficiently with automated technologies like electronic transactions and e-contracts. These negotiations follow the UK’s strategy to place itself at the heart of a network of contemporary free trade agreements and to reinforce its prominence as a global digital hub.
The negotiations will target a number of topics and goals. The first of these is acquiring open digital markets for merchants. By doing so, said merchants will be able to spread their business to new markets and sell their established goods in innovative ways. Second, is guaranteeing chargeless and secure data flow across borders. The most important goal of this objective would be to maintain effective personal data protection.
Third, will be the promotion of digital trading systems that will save UK companies time and costs when exporting products. Fourth, is ensuring consumer rights and providing modes of security for companies’ intellectual property. A fifth objective will be to expand the UK’s participation in future growth areas, like lawtech and fintech.
Liz Truss has stated that this potential deal with Singapore will keep the UK in a role of prominence within the technology revolution. The agreement will guarantee that the UK is a leader in digital trade and rising tech industries of cybersecurity and fintech. She goes on to discuss that the UK is becoming much more adaptable and less defensive in its outlook on trade.
It seems like the main goal of this deal would be to position the UK as an international hub for digital trade and other services. The UK will achieve this goal through a series of agreements, such as the one with Singapore, to stimulate increased productivity and jobs within the country.
Cotton, Barney. “UK and Singapore Kickstart Negotiations on Digital Trade Agreement.” Business Leader, 28 June 2021, https://www.businessleader.co.uk/uk-and-singapore-kickstart-negotiations-on-digital-trade-agreement/124534/.