Australia and Singapore have signed a landmark Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) to further enhance digital trade opportunities for businesses and consumers in both our nations.
Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham signed the Agreement with Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing in a virtual signing ceremony today.
Senator Birmingham says the new deal will help to expand the scope of Australia’s economic engagement with its largest two-way trading partner in South-East Asia.
“Technology and digitisation continue to transform the way Australian businesses trade and interact with customers in key export markets including Singapore,” he said.
“As we begin the economic recovery from COVID-19, this Agreement will reduce barriers and boost opportunities for Australian businesses to reach more customers and further tap into the Singaporean market.
“Singapore’s economy is dynamic, innovative and sophisticated and this will help to make it easier for Australian businesses to connect with the rising number of Singaporean businesses and consumers now engaged in cross-border digital trade.”
Making it easier for exporters to do business
Senator Birmingham says the Agreement will deliver practical improvements to lower costs and make it easier for exporters to do business. This includes personal data protection, e-invoicing, paperless customs procedures and electronic certification for agricultural exports.
“These are some of the most ambitious digital trade rules Australia has ever negotiated, and this Agreement will serve as benchmark for other digital trade rule negotiations within our region,” he said.
“The Agreement builds on Australia and Singapore’s leading roles in negotiating new international rules on e-commerce in the World Trade Organization to better facilitate the growing volumes of digital trade across the globe.”
The DEA upgrades the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) through a new Digital Economy chapter.
It will now undergo Australian treaty-making processes, including tabling in Parliament and consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, before coming into force.
The full text of the DEA and a summary of its key features are available at: Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement.