The EFTA States and Singapore held the fifth round of negotiations towards a Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) from 6 to 8 September 2023 in Singapore.
Esther Hauert Wermuth, Head of the Trade in Services Division at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, acted as the EFTA spokesperson, while Chua Shun Loong, Director for Europe in Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, headed Singapore’s delegation.
The EFTA States and Singapore made significant headway. They agreed amongst others on articles aimed at protecting users online effectively against unsolicited commercial electronic messages and fostering paperless trading and electronic invoicing by businesses. Other closed articles pertain to open government data and domestic electronic transactions frameworks, including the recognition of electronic contracts, and cybersecurity.
The EFTA States and Singapore also sounded out ways forward for the central articles on the protection of personal data and privacy, cross-border data flows, and the location of computing facilities.
During the round, Singapore further presented their digital identity system and TradeTrust system, a public blockchain to facilitate international trade transactions.
The delegations subscribed to detailed follow-up activities with a view to making further progress in the text and to continue discussions in the course of the fall.
Find more about the overall DEA process here.
Economic relations between the EFTA States and Singapore
Total trade between the parties has been growing exponentially over the last twenty years. In 2022, total merchandise trade between the EFTA States and Singapore reached more than USD 10 billion. The main imports to the EFTA States were pharmaceutical products (80%), while most exports to Singapore were organic chemicals (25%), and clocks and watches (12%). Services trade and foreign direct investment between the knowledge-and technology-driven economies are likewise at a high level.
Read more about merchandise trade between EFTA and Singapore here.
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