The UK and Singapore have agreed to a “groundbreaking” new deal that will cut costs and red tape for British businesses.

The Digital Economy Agreement will make it easier for businesses in the UK to trade with those in Singapore.

According to the latest statistics, trade between the two regions was worth some £16 billion in 2020, while around a third of our services exports to the region – such as finance, advertising, and engineering – are digitally delivered.

But the new deal – ending outdated rules and replacing them with a new framework for success – will make it easier for UK businesses to “target new opportunities” in the “lucrative” Singapore market.

Under the terms of the agreement, cumbersome border processes will be streamlined, red tape will be cut, and time-consuming and costly paperwork will be replaced with e-signatures and e-contracts.

Data, intellectual property, cybersecurity, and financial services barriers will also be torn down, the latter of which is worth approximately £1.7 billion a year.

Commenting on the deal, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “This digital agreement plays to our strengths as a services superpower and will ensure our brilliant businesses can build back better from the pandemic and benefit from easier, quicker and more trusted access to the lucrative Singapore market.

“We’re using our independent trade policy to strike these groundbreaking agreements that create high-skilled, well-paid jobs across the UK – paving the way for a new era of modern trade.”

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, added: “The signing of the UK-Singapore DEA signifies the importance of innovative financial services trade between our two global financial centres and sets a new standard for cooperation through our commitment to revitalise the existing UK-Singapore FinTech Bridge, providing an opportunity to strengthen business support and deepen trade between our markets.”

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