How the UK-Singapore digital trade deal will help businesses, consumers

SINGAPORE – Singapore and the United Kingdom (UK) have substantially concluded negotiations on the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA) on Thursday.

The agreement covers key areas of the digital economy, such as data, as well as a wide range of emerging and innovative areas such as artificial intelligence, fintech, digital identities and legal technology,  according to a statement jointly issued by  Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Infocomm Media Development Authority. 

Here is a look at some of the key features of the agreement and how they will help businesses and consumers.

1. Electronic payments (e-payments)

Promote rules for development of software that allow two applications to talk to each other and adopt internationally accepted standards to promote interoperability between e-payment systems.

2. Paperless trading

Accept electronic versions of trade documents, facilitate cross-border digitalisation of supply chains, and promote interoperability of electronic documents such as bills of lading and invoices. This will enable faster and cheaper transactions, and reduce costs for businesses.

3. Cross-border data flows

Businesses in the two countries will be allowed to transfer information, including those which are generated or held by financial institutions, more seamlessly across borders with the assurance that they meet the requisite regulations.

4. Prohibit data localisation

This essentially means that both countries will allow businesses to choose where their data is stored.

5. Cryptography

This refers to protecting information by transforming it into a secure format. Neither country will require the transfer of, or access to, technologies used in cryptography by a company as a condition of market access.

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6. Online consumer protection

Adopt or maintain laws and regulations that guard against fraudulent, misleading or deceptive conduct that causes harm to consumers engaged in online commercial activities.

7. Small and medium-sized enterprises cooperation

Singapore and the UK will seek to cooperate in promoting jobs and growth for SMEs, as well as encourage their participation in e-commerce platforms that will help link them with international suppliers, buyers, and potential business partners.

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