(Singapore Jan 22, 2020) While Singapore is planning to issue digital banking licenses this year, it is partnering with New Zealand and Chile for further cooperation on digital banking including e-invoicing, artificial intelligence, and data innovation.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker and Chile’s Vice Minister for Trade Rodrigo Yanez have jointly announced the substantial conclusion of the negotiations for the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) in Singapore.

Mr Chan Chun Sing said, “The DEPA is a new form of economic engagement in the digital era that Singapore has embarked on with like-minded partners Chile and New Zealand. I am encouraged that our countries have worked collaboratively and expeditiously to achieve substantial conclusion of negotiations.”

He said as the nature of commerce and trade evolves due to digitalization, it is important that we build new forms of cross-border linkages in order to create opportunities for our businesses to thrive in the digital economy.

“I would like to thank officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Communications and Information and the Infocomm Media Development Authority for working closely to bring this agreement to fruition which has allowed us to pursue these digital initiatives,” he added.

In addition to establishing rules for digital trade, the DEPA fosters cooperation in emerging digital areas. It promotes interoperability between different regimes by aligning standards and addressing new issues brought about by digitalization.

Some of these novel elements include e-invoicing, digital identities, Fintech, artificial intelligence, data flows and data innovation, trade and investment opportunities for SMEs, and digital inclusivity.

The DEPA represents a building block towards fostering greater digital connectivity between countries and developing multilateral rules on digital trade at the WTO. It will complement Singapore’s network of free trade agreements and our efforts as co-convener of the World Trade Organisation Joint Statement Initiative on E-Commerce to develop baseline digital trade rules.

Singapore, Chile and New Zealand enjoy longstanding and warm relations. The substantial conclusion of DEPA negotiations demonstrates our robust partnership and will serve to increase digital connectivity and strengthen economic ties between our countries.