UK and Singapore reach digital trade deal | David Sapsted

A “groundbreaking” digital trade deal between Britain and Singapore has been signed by UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan on the latest leg of a three-country trip to Asia.

Visiting Japan earlier, Ms Trevelyan also said she was “very hopeful” that the UK would be admitted to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – an 11-year Indo-Pacific trade pact. nations – during this year.And during a visit to Jakarta, the minister said she believed the two nations had ‘identified a path to expand our future trading relationship’ and saw British investment in Indonesia ‘going to get better and better’.

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Agreement a European first

the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) is particularly significant as it is the first by a European nation.The government has said it will bolster the UK’s £16bn trade relationship with Singapore by ending outdated rules for exporters of goods and services, making it easier for UK businesses to target new opportunities in Singapore and the wider region.Ms Trevelyan said: “This digital deal showcases our strengths as a services superpower and will ensure that our brilliant businesses can rebuild better after the pandemic and benefit from easier, faster and more reliable access to market. lucrative Singapore.”

At the forefront of global digital service delivery

the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT) said a third of UK exports to Singapore were already delivered digitally, including in finance, advertising and engineering.Marco Forgione, Director General of OIE&IT, said: “In areas such as electronic documents, digital authentication and digital customs, what we are working on is truly at the forefront of global developments.“At the Institute of Export & International Trade, we are working with partners in the UK and Singapore to implement the digitalization of the supply chain and the simplification of customs procedures.“A large part of the costs of modern trade are not customs duties, but delays and administrative burdens. The benefits that will accrue from simplifying and accelerating trade through digitalization will be considerable. »

Promote multilateral agendas

Julian David, Chief Executive of the Digital Commerce Body techUKsaid the DEA meant Britain was now part of the most advanced digital trade deal to date and also that “we can lead the multilateral agenda on e-commerce in the future”.He added: “As the economy becomes increasingly digital, so does trade. Fundamentally, the partnership with Singapore on data, fintech, digital customs, digital ID, cybersecurity, will offer enormous opportunities for companies to innovate and modernize the way we do business”.A potentially bigger price could be behind the scenes if the UK succeeds in its bid to join the CPTPP trading bloc, which currently includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.During his visit to Tokyo, Mr Trevelyan said that for the UK the impact of joining the bloc would be “around two billion pounds, which is of course a very, very substantial growth economic activity, jobs, opportunities for those working in UK companies to help expand their export markets”.But, she added: ‘Equally important, it helps us to show in a practical way that we are very serious when we talk about the UK rocking the Indo-Pacific. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi has confirmed that CPTPP member states will begin tariff negotiations with the UK later this year.In Jakarta, Ms Trevelyan met her Indonesian counterpart Muhammad Lutfi who said his government expected to strike a bilateral free trade deal with the UK “sooner rather than later”.Ms Trevelyan also held talks in Indonesia with Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for the first meeting since the UK became the 11th partner of the bloc’s dialogue, the first nation to achieve this status in 25 years.

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