The Straits Times | 20 July 2023
EU and Singapore open negotiations on digital trade agreement
by Tay Hong Yi
SINGAPORE – The European Union (EU) and Singapore opened negotiations on a digital trade agreement on Thursday.
The agreement will have legally binding rules and provisions that give certainty to end-to-end trade, facilitate trusted data flows and promote a connected and secure digital environment, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.
Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong and EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a joint statement that the talks aim to bring the economic partnership underpinned by the 2019 EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement into the digital domain.
“It demonstrates our commitment to being at the forefront of new digital developments, while upholding open digital economies that are competitive, transparent, fair, and free of unjustified barriers to international trade,” they noted.
The aim is to formulate a trade agreement that enables companies and people to keep pace with the fast-evolving digital economy, as well as deepening both economies’ existing trade framework.
The negotiations will build on the EU-Singapore Digital Partnership and Digital Trade Principles agreed upon at the start of 2023.
“We consider digital trade an essential part of the digital and green transitions of our societies,” said Mr Gan and Mr Dombrovskis.
“International cooperation on the digital economy is important for supporting job creation, empowering companies – especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises – to access new opportunities, responding to online consumer needs, and fostering innovation.
“The EU and Singapore can play a leading role in setting high-standard digital trade rules between our regions, and raising the ambition of global digital standards.”