On February 25, 2022, Singapore and the United Kingdom signed the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA), making the agreement the first digitally-focused trade deal ever signed by a European nation.

For Singapore, the UK is the city-state’s fourth digital economy agreement (DEA). Its other negotiated DEAs are:

Further, the deal also provides a gateway for the UK to join Singapore in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), one of the world’s largest free trade areas that comprise 13 percent of global gross domestic product, or approximately US$13.5 trillion.

Singapore and the UK will promote and facilitate rules that develop a safe and secure e-payment system. This includes encouraging businesses to use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and adopting internationally accepted standards.

Through UKSDEA, Singapore and the UK can accept electronic versions of administrative trade documents, such as invoices and bills of lading. This will enable faster and cheaper transactions, reduce the cost for businesses, and help facilitate cross-border digitalization of supply chains.

Businesses in Singapore and the UK can transfer information more seamlessly under UKSDEA, even information held by financial institutions.

Singapore and the UK will put in place initiatives against requirements for data localization and allow businesses to choose where they store their data.

Singapore and the UK will ensure the access, maintenance repair, and minimized risks to submarine cable systems, which form a critical part of digital infrastructure that provides connectivity between countries and regions.

Both countries will ensure that government information is available to the public in a readable format and easy-to-use APIs. Both governments hope this will remove barriers for SMEs to participate in the digital economy.

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This article was first published by AseanBriefing which is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, India, and Russia. Readers may write to [email protected]

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