U.K. and Singapore Start Talks to Cut Digital Trade Barriers

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The U.K. and Singapore have started negotiations on cutting barriers to digital trade, seeking to go further than the rollover free-trade agreement they struck when Britain left the European Union.

The two sides want to make it easier for companies to trade by using technology such as e-contracts and e-signatures, the U.K.’s Department for International Trade said in a statement. Singapore is Britain’s 21st-largest trading partner globally, accounting for 1.2% of total U.K. trade.

“Our ambition is to make the U.K. a global hub for services and digital trade,” Trade Secretary Liz Truss said. “A cutting-edge deal with Singapore will keep us at the forefront of the technological revolution.”

The U.K. is seeking to deepen its commercial ties globally following its split from the EU, which erected costly new trade barriers with its largest and closest market. Britain is also pursuing free-trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand and the United States, plus seeking to accede to the 11-nation trans-Pacific partnership.

DIT declined to comment on the expected economic benefit of reducing digital trade barriers with Singapore.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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