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SBF welcomes conclusion of Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA)

Tuesday, 21 January 2020 [Singapore] The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) welcomes the substantial conclusion of negotiations for the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) among Singapore, Chile, and New Zealand.

Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO, SBF said, “As the first trade and commerce agreement focused on the digital economy, the DEPA will set a benchmark for the governance of digital trade not only across Singapore’s key trading partners, but also globally. We hope that the conclusion of this agreement will influence positively the nature and speed of similar negotiations ongoing at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva.

“We applaud the Government for taking a leadership role both in concluding this agreement and as co-convener of the WTO Joint Statement Initiative on E-Commerce. Given the speed with which businesses in Singapore and the region are adopting new digital technologies and the tremendous opportunities offered for growth in regional trade flows, it is vital that our domestic regulations and international trade agreements are up to date.”

Digitalisation and interoperability of regulatory compliance and business transactions in cross-border trade will help our companies reduce both cost and time-to-market, enhancing their global competitiveness. We also note that the agreement strikes a good balance between consumer protection and business competitiveness through frameworks on personal information, online consumer protection, AI ethics, and safeguarding the right of businesses to locate and move data across borders. Finally, we are encouraged by the importance the three countries have placed on the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and ensuring inclusivity.

SBF looks forward to working closely with the Government to further the interests of our businesses and assisting them to take advantage of the digital economy.

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