EFTA and Singapore hold third round of negotiations towards a Digital Economy Agreement

Published 17-05-2023
High-level members of the EFTA and Singapore delegations
On 15 and 16 May 2023, delegations from the EFTA States and Singapore met via videoconference for the third round of negotiations toward a Digital Economy Agreement (DEA).

Philippe Rocheray, Senior Advisor in the Trade in Services Division at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), acted as the EFTA spokesperson. Chua Shun Loong, Director for Europe in Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, headed Singapore’s delegation.  

The two sides engaged in further discussions and exchanged views on the majority of the articles tabled for the DEA. Significant headway was made. Amongst others, delegations agreed on an article on online consumer protection, which requires each Party to adopt or maintain measures to ensure the effective protection of consumers engaging in e-commerce transactions. They further cleaned provisions throughout the draft DEA, including under the planned article on paperless trading, which aims to ease trade transactions by requiring the Parties to make trade administration documents publicly available in electronic form and to accept their legal equivalence with paper documents.  
The EFTA States and Singapore also achieved additional understanding of their respective approaches to the provisions on cross-border data flows and the protection of personal data.  
Detailed follow-up activities were agreed upon by the EFTA States and Singapore to prepare for the fourth round of negotiations, which is set to take in early June 2023.  

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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