Anne-Marie Trevelyan – 2022 Statement on Singapore Negotiations

The statement made by Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Secretary of State for International Trade, in the House of Commons on 25 February 2022.

I have today signed a ground-breaking digital trade agreement with Singapore.

The DEA represents the most ambitious package of provisions on digital trade we have agreed to date. It will serve as a model for such agreements in future, cementing the UK’s place as a world leader in digital trade.

The nature of digital trade and the digital economy means that the DEA is about far more than tech firms, valuable as the contribution they make to the UK economy undoubtedly is. Whether it is through opening digital markets, promoting the free flow of trusted data, or slashing red tape through overhauling outdated paper-based processes, digital trade has the potential to turbocharge UK exports and deliver benefits to businesses and consumers across the whole UK economy, from offices in Dundee to living rooms in Derbyshire and factory floors in Devon.

More detail will be set out in the explanatory memorandum that will accompany the laying of the text before Parliament, but key benefits of the deal include:

Supporting UK businesses to access Singapore’s digital markets. Digitally-delivered services made up around 70% of UK-Singapore services trade in 2019, and this deal will help grow our trade in this area.

Cutting red tape by supporting the overhaul of outdated, paper-based trading systems. For example, the agreement contains specific commitments around maintaining legal frameworks that enable the digitisation of trade documents.

Keeping our country and citizens safe through deepening our partnership with Singapore in areas such as cybersecurity, as well as promoting the importance of online consumer protection and personal data protection.

The DEA will also support our bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), joining Singapore and 10 other vibrant trading nations. Membership would mean access to a £8.4 trillion free trade area with some of the biggest and fastest- growing markets in the world.

Following signature of the agreement today, it will shortly be laid before Parliament, in line with usual practice, after which it will also be published online. I expect the agreement to come into force later this year once both the UK and Singapore have completed our respective domestic procedures.