Singapore signs agreements to boost economic relationships

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran and United Kingdom (UK) Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan have signed the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA) in conjunction with the inaugural meeting of the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (UKSFTA) Trade Committee.

They also agreed to start discussions on an investment protection agreement and develop a framework for green economy cooperation this year.

Mr Iswaran said, “The UKSDEA will enhance Singapore’s role as a trusted node in global value chains by advancing seamless end-to-end digital trade and enabling trusted data flows in secure digital environments. The expeditious signing of the ambitious and high-standard agreement reflects our strong commitment to continue enabling new growth opportunities for our people and businesses, especially SMEs.

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It also underscores the growing and evolving partnership between Singapore and the UK. We have already started looking into the next wave of cooperation and have started discussions on green economy cooperation as well as an investment protection agreement to provide our investors with robust and up-to-date treaty protections.”

Prior to the signing of the UKSDEA, Mr Iswaran and Ms Trevelyan co-chaired the inaugural UKSFTA Trade Committee meeting, where they reaffirmed the longstanding, robust and dynamic economic relationship between Singapore and the UK. They welcomed the smooth implementation of the UKSFTA.

Both parties are targeting to conclude a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) for Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) by 2022, with a view to expedite customs clearances for Singapore and UK exporters

Mr Iswaran and Ms Trevelyan also reviewed priority areas for forward-looking cooperation at the meeting. These include the implementation of the UKSDEA and its MOUs, commencement of discussions on a new UK-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement, as well as the development of a framework for green economy cooperation.

The UKSDEA is Singapore’s third DEA. The agreement includes binding disciplines on cornerstones of the digital economy, such as data flows, as well as cooperative elements in a wide range of emerging and innovative areas such as Artificial Intelligence, FinTech and RegTech, digital identities and legal technology. Under the UKSDEA, Singapore and the UK are also pursuing MOUs and side letters that provide a dynamic framework for bilateral cooperation on forward-looking and emerging issues.

Singapore and Vietnam sign Memorandum of Understanding

Singapore has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Economic and Trade Cooperation with Vietnam to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between both countries.

The MOU was signed by Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng and Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien. It was witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who was in Singapore for a State Visit.

The MOU will strengthen economic cooperation between Singapore and Vietnam. This includes facilitating business partnerships, exploring collaborations in the digital economy, and supporting regional and global supply chain connectivity. The MOU will deepen agri-trade cooperation through exploring partnership opportunities and supporting information sharing and training on best practices, certification and standards in the agriculture industry.

It also aims to enhance cooperation in the industrial and energy sectors, and facilitate greater collaboration between Singapore and Vietnamese SMEs. It will also explore capacity building activities in economic areas of mutual interest to deepen trade and investment flows between Singapore and Vietnam.

Second Minister Dr Tan said, “Singapore and Vietnam share longstanding economic ties. This comprehensive MOU underscores our countries’ shared commitment to expand bilateral cooperation in a wide range of sectors. We look forward to catalysing greater trade and economic collaboration, including in new and emerging areas of interest such as renewable and clean energy.

“We will also enhance our resilience by building a more robust supply chain and facilitating smooth and continued trade flows between both countries even in times of crises. This will help to take our partnership with Vietnam to the next level, as we both emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic together.”