Thu, 24 Sep 2020

CANBERRA, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Australia and Singapore have signed a Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) that will broaden economic engagement between the two countries.

The agreement was signed in a virtual signing ceremony on Thursday after negotiations were finalized in March.

Simon Birmingham, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, said that the deal would be a major boost to Australia's economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis and it would help to "expand the scope of our economic engagement with our largest two-way trading partner in Southeast Asia."

"As we begin the economic recovery from COVID-19, this agreement will reduce barriers and boost opportunities for Australian businesses to reach more customers and further tap into the Singaporean market," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"The agreement will deliver practical improvements to lower costs and make it easier for exporters to do business, including in areas of personal data protection, e-invoicing, paperless customs procedures, and electronic certification for agricultural exports."

He also said that the agreement builds on Australia and Singapore's leading roles in negotiating new international rules on e-commerce in the World Trade Organization to better facilitate the growing volumes of digital trade across the globe.

"These are some of the most ambitious digital trade rules Australia has ever negotiated, and this agreement will serve as benchmark for other digital trade rule negotiations within our region," Birmingham said.

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