UK-Singapore agreement will ‘update trade rules for digital age’

Ministers hail significance of new cooperation deal

Credit: Jnzl’s Photos/CC BY 2.0

The government has agreed a digital trade agreement with Singapore that it claims will “cut costs, slash red tape and pave the way for a new era” of deals between businesses in the two nations.

The Digital Economy Agreement (DEA)was agreed in principle last week following a six-month negotiation period. The deal came in light of what the government claimed is a total of £16bn in goods and services exported by UK businesses to Singapore last year – a third of which were digitally delivered. Key sectors for trade include finance.

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the deal was essential because digital trade is “creating a new global economy [that] it is still largely governed by old-fashioned rules that pre-date the digital revolution of the past 20 years”.

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She added that the government is looking to “update these rules for the digital age”.

Julian David, chief executive of trade association techUK, said the DEA was significant for the tech industry due to Singapore’s “long-standing status as one of the most innovative countries in digital trade policy”.

“This is exciting news for the tech sector and the broader services economy and techUK looks forward to helping bring this agreement to life,” he added.

Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart has hailed the agreement of as particularly significant for the country, saying it will pave the way for further international collaboration for Scotland’s tech businesses.

“With 140 fintech companies based in Scotland and tech roles in Glasgow and Edinburgh increasing by more than a quarter in the past two years, our digital sector is flourishing,” he said. “This progressive deal will enable our world-class tech industry to export to a new market and encourage international collaboration, all while helping tackle cyberthreats and keep personal data safe.”


Sam Trendall

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