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The UK and Singapore are starting negotiations on a ground-breaking digital economy agreement (DEA) to open up opportunities for British business to deliver their services.

International trade secretary Liz Truss is having a video meeting with the Singaporean trade minister S. Iswaran today, the government has announced

Banking and law

Both countries are considered digital economy leaders and 70% of UK services exports to Singapore in 2019, from financial and legal services to music streaming and e-books, were digitally delivered, worth £3.2 billion. Among areas under discussion is how to deepen cooperation in growth sectors such as fintech and lawtech.

Other topics for negotiations include securing open digital markets for exporters, ensuring cross border data flows, cutting red tape and upholding IP rights.

Truss said the ambition was to make the UK a global hub for services and digital trade.

First European DEA

She added: “The UK will be the first European country to ever negotiate a Digital Economy Agreement, which shows what we can do as a sovereign trading nation. We are becoming more flexible, more nimble and less defensive in our approach to trade.”

Britain signed a free trade agreement with Singapore in December, covering its £17bn trading relationship, the BBC reported

Asian tilt

The deal comes a week after foreign secretary Dominic Raab attended trade talks in Vietnam, kicking off British negotiations for the UK’s entry to the CPTPP trade bloc, as reported in the IOE&IT Daily Update bulletin.

Raab also met with his Cambodian counterpart last week to discuss closer economic ties, in further evidence of the UK’s Asian tilt, the Independent reports.

Cambodia is set to take over the annual presidency of the ASEAN group, which represents 10 South East Asian Nations.