9 December 2020
The Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) has kicked-off, setting a new global benchmark for digital trade rules and providing more digital trade opportunities for businesses and consumers in both countries.
The Agreement is expected to deliver practical improvements to lower costs and make it easier for Australian exporters to do business in Singapore, including in areas of personal data protection, e-invoicing, paperless customs procedures, and electronic certification for agricultural exports.
Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the Agreement would benefit Australia’s digital exports to Singapore, our largest two-way trading partner in South-East Asia.
“This Agreement sets a high standard of rules for digital trade and will transform the way Australian businesses operate and interact with Singaporean businesses and consumers,” Minister Birmingham said.
“As Singapore’s economy continues to become more digitised and sophisticated, this Agreement will make it easier for Australian businesses to connect with the rising number of Singaporean businesses and consumers involved in cross-border digital trade.
“Reducing trade barriers and providing more export opportunities for Australian businesses to reach more customers is absolutely critical as we continue the economic recovery from COVID-19.
“This ambitious digital trade deal sets new benchmarks including simplified arrangements for the exchange of electronic trade documents, and new rules that will prevent unnecessary data localisation requirements, including for the financial services sector, and forced technology transfers which can stifle trade and investment flows.
“Importantly, the Agreement also balances digital trade outcomes with strong protection of privacy and consumer rights, providing certainty for businesses operating online and consumers accessing products and services.”
The DEA upgrades the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) through a new Digital Economy chapter. The full text of the DEA and a summary of its key features are available at: Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement.