Anne-Marie Trevelyan – 2022 Statement on the Singapore Digital Economy Agreement

The statement made by Anne Marie-Trevelyan, the Secretary of State for International Trade, in the House of Commons on 14 June 2022.

Today, I am proud to announce that the UK-Singapore digital economy agreement (DEA) enters into force, following the completion of the necessary domestic procedures on both sides. This will allow UK businesses to start benefiting from the provisions contained within the agreement, helping them to trade and grow.

This groundbreaking agreement is the world’s most innovative digital trade agreement, concluded as it was between two of the most advanced digital trade nations. The UK-Singapore digital economy agreement is deeper and wider than previous trade agreements covering the modern digital economy. Complementing and building on the G7 digital trade principles that we brokered under the UK’s G7 presidency, the Singapore digital economy agreement will serve as an ambitious model for modern trade agreements in future—cementing the UK’s place as a world leader in digital trade.

By securing open digital markets, prompting the free flow of trusted data, and cutting red tape through overhauling outdated paper-based processes, businesses across the UK can expand into new markets and thrive.

Now that this groundbreaking trade agreement has entered into force, businesses and consumers across the UK will start to benefit from:

Support to UK businesses to access Singapore’s digital markets. Digitally delivered services make up around a third of UK services trade globally—this was worth over £361 billion in 2020, and this deal will help strengthen this further.

Securing and locking-in trusted cross-border data flows, the foundation for today’s modern digital economy—representing up to 26.3% of UK GVA in 2019. This will enable businesses to trade more easily, cheaply, and more quickly, facilitating everything from more efficient manufacturing and supply chains to more reliable infrastructure.

Cutting red tape by supporting the overhaul of outdated, paper-based trading systems.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 such as bills of lading.

Keeping our country and citizens safe through deepening our partnership with Singapore in areas such as cyber-security, as well as legally binding commitments covering online consumer protection and personal data protection.

Supporting our bid to join the comprehensive and progressive trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP), alongside Singapore and 10 other vibrant trading nations. Membership would mean access to a £9 trillion free trade area with some of the biggest and fastest-growing markets in the world.

With this agreement coming into force, our economy and brilliant businesses can build back better from the pandemic and start to benefit from easier, quicker, and more trusted access to the valuable Singapore market.