Geum Yi

S. Korea, Singapore aim to strike digital trade deal this year

November 8, 2021

South Korea and Singapore agreed Monday to conclude their digital trade pact this year in a move to deepen broader trade and economic ties, Seoul’s trade ministry said.

The agreement was made during the meeting between Seoul’s Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo and Singaporean Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng held in Seoul.

“The two sides agreed to speed up working-level negotiations with a goal to conclude the Digital Partnership Agreement (DPA) within this year, as their talks, which began in July last year, are in the final stage,” the ministry said in a release.

The digital pact is meant to set up rules for digital transactions, to facilitate trade in the digital realm, and to better protect consumers over the course of online trade. If concluded, it will be the first trade agreement of its kind for South Korea.

Singapore is South Korea’s 12th-largest trading partner and has a similar digitization level, according to the ministry.

“Yeo said that the two countries can play a role together in setting up digital trade norms in ASEAN and broader regions, and proposed joint research and other efforts to establish Korea-ASEAN digital trade rules, which have not been fully stipulated by general trade pacts,” the ministry said.

During the talks, the two ministers also discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in hydrogen and new renewable energy sectors to better respond to climate change and achieve a zero-emission economy, it added.