THE BUSINESS OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Today, the UK and Singapore signed a continuity agreement to rollover existing trading agreements when the UK-EU Transition period ends on December 31. Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss signed the agreement on a visit to the city-state, before travelling to sign a further continuity agreement in Vietnam, cementing trading connections between the UK and two members of the ASEAN countries.
During the signing, Ms Truss and her Singaporean counterpart, Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, announced plans for a Digital Economy Agreement, the first such agreement between Singapore and a European nation. Such an agreement would support cyber security and the tech industry. 70% of UK exports to Singapore were delivered digitally in 2019, accounting for trade in services worth £3.2 billion.
The Vietnam agreement will also protect a growing trading relationship for the UK. Between 2010 and 2019, trade between the UK and Vietnam tripled in nominal terms to £5.7 billion. The agreement will mean that 99% of tariffs will be eliminated after seven years.
Discussing the agreements, Ms Truss said that "Both these agreements are vital for the UK’s future as an independent trading nation. Not only do they lock in billions of pounds worth of trade, they also pave the way for new digital partnerships and joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This will play to the UK’s strengths, as we become a hub for tech and digital trade with influence far beyond our shores, defining our role in the world for decades to come."
Responding to the proposed Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore, Antony Walker, Deputy CEO at techUK, added that "This will not only deepen digital trade with Singapore but will also help to strengthen digital trade across the region. This is a great opportunity for the UK and Singapore to join forces in defining a gold standard agreement in digital trade."
To read the joint-statement on the agreement between Singapore and the UK, go to www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-by-the-uk-and-singapore.
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