UK and Singapore start talks on digital trade agreement

Discussions are part of push for Britain to become 'global tech powerhouse' after Brexit

British trade minister Liz Truss speaks to Reuters after signing a free trade agreement with Singapore, in Singapore December 10, 2020.  REUTERS/Pedja Stanisic

Britain and Singapore will on Monday start negotiations on a new digital-trade agreement, in London's push to become what it calls a "global tech powerhouse" after Brexit.

Since completing its exit from the EU at the end of last year, Britain has pressed ahead with new trade deals, especially with countries in the Indo-Pacific region, with the most recent agreement signed with Australia.

Digital trade is considered to be key by the government to support British tech companies in capitalising on investment opportunities abroad and try to help a post-Covid recovery.

The government said any agreement with Singapore could remove barriers to digital trade and enable British exporters to expand into high-tech markets. The talks will start with a video call.

"A cutting-edge deal with Singapore will keep us at the forefront of the technological revolution, ensuring we lead the way in digitally delivered trade and industries like FinTech and cyber security," British Trade Secretary Liz Truss said.

"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."