11 January 2021
On 28 December 2020, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MTI”) announced the entry into force of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (“DEPA”) for Singapore and New Zealand on 7 January 2021, following the ratification of the agreement by both countries. DEPA was signed by Singapore, New Zealand and Chile in June 2020. It is the second Digital Economy Agreement (“DEA”) to come into force following the Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement which entered in force on 8 December 2020
A DEA is a treaty that establishes digital trade rules and digital economy collaborations between two or more economies. Through DEAs with key partners, Singapore aims to develop international frameworks to foster interoperability of standards and systems and support businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), engaging in digital trade and electronic commerce. DEAs build on Singapore’s extensive network of free trade agreements and other digital cooperation initiatives. They also complement Singapore’s leadership role at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the co-convener (together with Australia and Japan) of the Joint Statement Initiative on E-Commerce (JSI).
DEPA is the first DEA that Singapore concluded. It establishes common digital trade rules and fosters cooperation on emerging issues in the digital economy. This in turn will promote interoperability between the digital systems of different countries. With the entry into force of DEPA, Singapore businesses can look forward to greater efficiency, increased trust, and reduced costs or digital barriers when trading or conducting business digitally with their partners in Chile and New Zealand.
Singapore has also launched negotiations with the Republic of Korea on a Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement.