The EFTA States and Singapore held their sixth round of negotiations towards a Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) via videoconference on 15 and 16 November 2023. Esther Hauert Wermuth, Head of the Trade in Services Division at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, acted as the EFTA spokesperson, while Singapore’s delegation was led by Chua Shun Loong, Director for Europe in Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Delegations took stock of the advancement in the written exchanges prior to the round, including the closing of the article on cooperation on competition policy in the context of the digital economy and the general exceptions. During the round, they made further headway, concluding among others the Preamble of the DEA, the articles on electronic authentication and innovation in their entirety, and significant parts of the articles on digital identities and on standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures.
Taken together, these provisions will serve to improve the framework conditions for trade enabled by electronic means, e.g. through the domestic legal recognition of electronic signatures, and provide pathways for the pursuit of joint initiatives in areas of mutual interest.
The EFTA States and Singapore committed to detailed follow-up activities and agreed to hold the next round in virtual format in December 2023.
Learn more about the overall DEA process here.
Economic relations between the EFTA States and Singapore
Total trade between the parties has grown exponentially over the last 20 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 also at a high level.
Read more about merchandise trade between EFTA and Singapore here.
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