EU and Singapore Move Closer to Digital Partnership
The EU and Singapore have agreed to accelerate steps towards the establishment of a Digital Partnership aimed at expanding bilateral digital cooperation and trade. The Digital Partnership will also pave the way for cooperation in areas such as 5G/6G, Artificial Intelligence, and digital identities.
The Digital Partnership is intended to provide an overarching framework to strengthen digital connectivity and interoperability of digital markets and policy frameworks and facilitate digital trade between the EU and Singapore. It aims to advance cooperation on the full spectrum of digital issues, including digital economy and trade, as well as key enablers for the successful digital transformation of societies and economies.
Issues that may be addressed include secure and sustainable digital infrastructure, trusted data flows and data innovation, digital regulations, the development of digital skills for workers, and the digital transformation of businesses, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and of public services.
The Partnership would expand the bilateral trade and investment relationship between the Bloc and Singapore by enhancing cooperation, building more resilient supply chains, and supporting innovation and facilitating business opportunities for start-ups and SMEs.
EU Commissioner Thierry Breton and Singapore Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran stressed that the Digital Partnership should be a flexible structure that goes beyond dialogue and exchange of information to deliver concrete results. Ultimately, it should reinforce the people, business and trade links between the EU and Singapore and maximise the benefits of the digital economy for communities. The Digital Partnership will also contribute to the development of a global architecture of interoperable standards at regional and multilateral settings and benefit workers and businesses engaging in digital trade and electronic commerce.
Commissioner Breton and Minister S. Iswaran underlined that there was a positive and growing momentum towards the EU-Singapore Digital Partnership. They agreed to launch technical workshops as soon as possible to further scope the content and processes of the Partnership, in order to work towards a political agreement in 2022.
Once the Digital Partnership has been signed, an annual ministerial meeting (“Digital Partnership Council”), led by Commissioner Breton and Minister Iswaran will be convened to steer progress on shared priorities.
In addition, Commissioner Breton and Minister Iswaran also discussed the global supply challenges in the semiconductor industry and the potential for cooperation between the EU and Singapore. Commissioner Breton outlined the priorities under the EU’s recent proposal for an EU Chips Act and both sides agreed for their teams to further explore the issue in a technical workshop.