Australia and Singapore Digital Economy Agreement

On 12 October 2019, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, and Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing agreed the scope of a landmark Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement. This announcement follows a comprehensive scoping study undertaken by Australian and Singaporean officials at the request of Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Lee Hsien Loong. Australia and Singapore will launch official negotiations for the Agreement shortly.

Minister's shaking hands
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham with Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing announcing the scope of a Digital Economy Agreement in Bangkok on 12 October 2019. Photo credit: Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore

Australia is committed to capitalising on the enormous potential presented by digital trade for Australian businesses. Digital trade is an increasingly important way for our region to connect and do business with the rest of the world, helping businesses to reduce costs and remain competitive. It provides more opportunities for Australian businesses to reach more customers across the globe as well as further grow our economy. According to the Export Council of Australia, Australia's digital exports were worth around $6 billion in 2017, equivalent to Australia's 4th largest export sector and this figure is set to grow.

Singapore is Australia's largest trade and investment partner in South-East Asia. As two vibrant and open economies, we share a vision for improved economic integration between our countries. Australia and Singapore are leading the way in the digital economy and we are eager to work with Singapore to maximise ambition in areas of common interest.

Australia and Singapore already share some of the most ambitious digital trade arrangements under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Australia-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. However, we consider there is scope to do more to reduce barriers to digital trade and build an environment in which Australian businesses are able to participate and benefit from the digitalisation of the economy.

The Agreement is anticipated to cover modern digital trade rules and facilitate bilateral cooperation on areas including digital trade facilitation, e‑invoicing, e-payments, FinTech and cooperation on the digitisation of trade documents, artificial intelligence, digital identities, and e-certification for exports. Australia and Singapore will seek to establish modern rules on the regulation of cross-border data flows and localisation of computing facilities, and establish benchmarks for improving safety and consumer experiences online.

We want to hear from you

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) welcomes submissions from interested individuals and groups about cooperation with Singapore on digital trade. Stakeholder submissions will inform our way forward as we progress this initiative. It also allows us to stay in contact with you throughout the process and keep you updated.

Please forward your submissions to digitaltrade@dfat.gov.au by 1 November 2019.

If you have any questions or are unable to provide your submission before this deadline, please contact the DFAT Digital Trade team on digitaltrade@dfat.gov.au

Last Updated: 14 October 2019