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Britain looking at digital economy to strengthen links with Singapore

This article is more than 12 months old

Britain is looking at the digital economy as an area in which it can strengthen its relationship with Singapore as it negotiates a new post-Brexit trade deal with the Republic.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that while the new deal will be based on the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a digital economy partnership can help take the relationship between the two countries to the next level.

"If we ought to think for the future, actually this is something that can broaden and deepen our relationship," he said yesterday during a visit to the Rolls-Royce corporate laboratory at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Mr Raab referred to the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement Singapore concluded with New Zealand and Chile last month, and the ongoing talks over the Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement.

The agreements are aimed at codifying a common set of rules, standards and guidelines for global digital trade and commerce.

Mr Raab, who is on a tour of Asia and has just concluded a visit to Japan, said both the United Kingdom and Singapore are eager to proceed towards a new trade deal "as swiftly as practical".

"For the UK, this would be one of the first wave of post-Brexit trade agreements. We are forging a template for the future, so we are going to be careful about it," he said.

Britain formally left the EU on Jan 31, but there will be a transition period until Dec 31, during which the UK will be treated functionally as an EU member state and continue to be a party to the EU's international agreements, including the EU-Singapore FTA, which came into force last November.

During his visit to NTU, Mr Raab said the Asean region, and Singapore in particular, is a "linchpin to our strategy for the future, and we are genuinely committed to it". - THE STRAITS TIMES