Singapore and UK sign digital economy trade deal

Out-Law News | 15 Dec 2021 | 1:33 am | 1 min. read

Singapore and the UK have concluded negotiations on the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA).

The deal covers data rules, artificial intelligence (AI), financial technology (fintech), regulation technology (regtech), digital identities and legal technology, according to a joint statement by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

There are three major components to the UKSDEA. The deal will advance end-to-end digital trade via” common and interoperable” digital systems for e-payments, e-invoicing and other electronic documents, ensure high standards of data protection and prohibit data localisation requirements, including for financial services.

Hanna Nicholas

Nicholas Hanna

Partner

It will not only boost digital trade and data flows, but it will also encourage digital economy participation amongst businesses and SMEs and thereby strengthening our digital connectivity.

The deal will also help to maintain a secure digital environment, including source code protection and private cryptography keys for companies and protection against fraudulent, misleading or deceptive online practices for costumers.

Nicholas Hanna of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, said: “The progress made in the negotiation of this deal is an ambitious victory for both countries which also reflects the importance of digital economy collaborations between the two like-minded economies. With this in place, it will not only boost digital trade and data flows, but it will also encourage digital economy participation amongst businesses and SMEs and thereby strengthening our digital connectivity.”

“It is envisaged that this will also bring the trading relationship between UK and Singapore to the next level as parties from both sides will be able to target new opportunities as a result of this groundbreaking digital economy agreement,” he said.

Singapore and the UK will work together to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to participate in e-commerce platforms linking them with international businesses, according to the terms of the deal. The two countries will also launch cooperative projects under the deal.

The UK and Singapore began negotiations on the UKSDEA in July. It is considered to be the first agreement of its kind between an Asian and a European country.

Singapore signed similar agreements with Australia, Chile and New Zealand in 2020.

Earlier the month, Singapore and the UK signed three separate deals on digital trade, cyber security and digital identities.