Pm Lee with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on a successful Summit, and had a good discussion about the conclusion of the EU-Singapore Digital Partnership
PM Lee with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen

Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran and European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton signed the EU-Singapore Digital Partnership (EUSDP) on the 1st of February 2023. The signing follows Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s announcement of the substantial conclusion of negotiations in December 2022, on the sidelines of the EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.

The EUSDP is an overarching framework for all areas of bilateral digital cooperation between the EU and Singapore. These include core issues in the cross-border digital economy such as digital trade facilitation trusted data flows, electronic payments, and standards and conformance; as well as new and emerging areas such as Artificial Intelligence, digital identities, and 5G/6G.
The EUSDP will also support and enable broader participation in the digital economy through cooperation on digital upskilling for workers, and the digital transformation of businesses as well as public services.

As a first deliverable of the EUSDP, Minister Iswaran signed the EU-Singapore Digital Trade Principles with Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for the People and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis. Digital Trade Principles are the first step toward a legally binding digital trade agreement between the EU and Singapore that facilitates cross-border data flows, enables cost savings through the use of electronic trade documentation and authentication, and ensures that consumers enjoy greater online consumer protection when purchasing goods and services online.

Following the signing of the EUSDP, Minister Iswaran, and Commissioner Breton co-chaired the inaugural EUSDP Digital Partnership
Council. During the meeting, Minister Iswaran and Commissioner Breton welcomed the signing of the Digital Trade Principles. They also agreed to swiftly commence cooperation in the exchanges of best practices and developing projects in AI governance and standards, digital identities, facilitating cross-border digital transactions, and supporting SMEs’ digital transformation, and digital
skills. Minister Iswaran and Commissioner Breton also looked forward to projects between Singapore and the EU, including the EU Member States, in partnership with the private sector.

Minister Iswaran said, “The EU-Singapore Digital Partnership strengthens connectivity and interoperability between the digital markets of the EU and Singapore. It will enable our people and businesses to transact digitally more seamlessly and at lower costs. As a first deliverable, we launched a set of Digital Trade Principles, marking the first step towards a bilateral digital trade agreement that provides legal certainty for cross-border digital trade. I look forward to working with the EU to bring our economic and digital partnership to greater heights.”

Singapore and the EU share a strong economic relationship, underpinned by the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) which entered into force in November 2019. The EU is Singapore’s fourth largest goods trade partner globally. In 2021, bilateral trade in goods came to S$102 billion, representing 8.8% of Singapore’s total goods trade. The EU is also Singapore’s second-largest services trade partner globally, with bilateral trade in services exceeding S$67 billion. Investment relations are strong, with the EU
being Singapore’s second-largest foreign investor and largest overseas investment destination.

Source: MTI Singapore