Welcoming the entry into force of the digital economy agreement, William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said:
“This is a great boost for trade in both goods and services with the growing Singapore market. It has the potential to set the standard and could be a beacon for other nations looking to establish advanced digital trade terms with the UK.
“The UK Government must now work closely with the Chamber Network over the coming months to ensure that smaller firms are able to extract the widest possible benefits from this agreement.
“If businesses are properly engaged, we should see increased exports to Singapore alongside lower costs and waiting times for goods to reach customers there.
“Especially with the focus on using modern systems, free flows of data, strong provisions on FinTech and LawTech, cyber-security, electronic invoicing and payments.
“We hope it will also encourage other countries to embrace open, fair and digital trade as a means of boosting prosperity, productivity and wage growth through greater exports in goods and cutting-edge services.”
BCC analysis suggests the deal will introduce a range of new provisions in terms of technology which will be UK or world firsts.
Among the positives are;
- A commitment to open and inclusive digital markets
- Duty-free digital content provisions
- Zero customs duties on e-transmission of documents.
- Specific content for smaller and medium sized businesses
- Details on the standards of conformity assessment
- Free flows of data – which are important for financial services, insurance, law and music.
- Strong standards on data protection.
- Provisions on online consumer protection – giving the same rights online as offline. Protection against spam.
- Provisions on cyber security and online safety.
- Cryptographic and source code protections.
- Digital Trading systems – provisions to reduce red tape and modernising trade systems.
- Financial services – agreements on e-payments, FinTech and the exchange of information.
- Provisions on Artificial Intelligence and responsible use of emerging technologies. Innovative cooperation on LawTech.
- A UK-Singapore FinTech bridge