Insights UK and Singapore sign new Digital Economy Agreement (DEA)

The Government says that the new digital trade deal “links two of the world’s most dynamic hi-tech and services hubs and will capitalise on the UK’s strength as the world’s second-largest services exporter”. A third of the UK’s exports to Singapore are already digitally delivered, including in finance, advertising and engineering.

The digital sector adds £151 billion to the UK economy. In the Government’s view, UK services companies already operating in Singapore are well placed to take advantage of the deal, including financial giants, telecoms firms or software companies.

The Government says that other benefits include:

  • free and trusted cross-border data flows;
  • binding commitments that ensure individuals and businesses know their data, money and intellectual property are safe;
  • strengthening the UK and Singapore’s relationship for financial services by ensuring data can flow freely, and enhanced cooperation for innovative financial services; and
  • a new partnership with Singapore to build stronger cyber security defences against attacks by private operators or hostile states.

Singapore is a gateway to the wider Indo-Pacific region and the Government says that the DEA will support the UK’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

In addition to signing the DEA, the UK and Singapore also agreed to revitalise the existing “FinTech Bridge” to support innovative financial services and strengthen cooperation on emerging technologies.

The UK and Singaporean ministers also held the first meeting of the Trade Committee for the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, where they agreed to deepen cooperation on the green economy, including working together to support the net zero transition in the wider Indo-Pacific region, and strengthen the important bilateral investment relationship between the two countries.

The Government says that discussions will begin this year to explore opportunities to deepen the UK’s obligations on investment protection with formal discussions expected to begin next year. To read the Government’s press release in full and for a link to a summary of the DEA, click here.