Singapore-South Korea digital economy agreement to synchronize data and payments

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Singapore has finalized negotiations with South Korea on a digital economy deal that will see the two countries collaborate in several areas, including cross-border online payments, data flows, cryptography and artificial intelligence (AI). . The partnership aims to establish ‘forward-looking’ digital trade rules and foster interoperability between digital systems.

South Korea will also be the first Asian market to sign the Singapore digital economy deal, the fourth after similar pacts with the UK announced last week, along with Australia, Chile and the United Kingdom. New Zealand.

Under the digital deal, the location of data would only be allowed if it was necessary for specific purposes, such as regulatory access, the two partners said on Wednesday in a joint statement. This would facilitate secure data transfers between organizations in the two countries and allow them to decide where they wish to store and process their data, based on their business needs.

The digital economy pact would also strengthen bilateral collaboration in emerging segments such as personal data protection, online payments and source code security. In addition, the two countries would explore potential cross-border opportunities in AI innovation and see South Korea supporting Singapore’s efforts to develop multilateral rules in e-commerce. The latter is currently the co-organizer of the World Trade Organization Joint Reporting Initiative on Electronic Commerce.

Specifically, the Singapore-South Korea digital economy agreement would cover 11 modules in three broad areas covering digital commerce, trusted data flows, and trusted digital systems and participation. Bilateral efforts, for example, would seek to develop secure cross-border digital payments with “transparent and facilitating rules”, such as open application programming interfaces (APIs) and the adoption of internationally accepted standards.

To facilitate the exchange of key trade documents, the two countries would recognize electronic versions of trade administration documents and work together on initiatives to promote the adoption of data exchange systems. Companies operating in both markets would also be allowed to transfer information across borders, including data generated or held by financial institutions, if all parties complied with the required regulations and deployed adequate personal data protection.

In the area of ​​AI, Singapore and South Korea are said to encourage the adoption of governance and ethics frameworks that support the reliable and responsible use of AI-based technologies. They would also ensure that local organizations that used cryptography could do so with the “confidence” that the private keys and associated technologies deployed in both market environments were protected. On the one hand, neither country would require the transfer or access to such tools as a condition of market access.

This rule would be extended to source code protection, in which neither country would require transfer or access to software codes as a condition of market access. It included algorithms.

The growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in both countries would be cultivated through platforms that help these organizations connect with suppliers, buyers and other potential international partners.

Similar to the British deal, Singapore’s pact with South Korea provided for collaboration in the area of ​​digital identities. The two Asian markets would promote interoperability between their respective digital identity regimes, with the aim of providing more reliable identity verification and faster processing of requests. These initiatives aimed to remove cross-border trade barriers and make it easier and more secure for businesses and consumers to navigate their digital economies.

Singapore’s Second Minister of Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said: “[The agreement] strengthen digital connectivity between Singapore and the Republic of Korea and strengthen our already strong economic ties. By aligning standards, enabling reliable data flows, and enabling cross-border digital transactions to take place more transparently, the Korea-Singapore digital partnership agreement will open up opportunities for our businesses and people in the economy. rapidly growing digital technology. “

Seoul was Singapore’s eighth-largest trading partner last year, with bilateral trade reaching SG $ 44.6 billion ($ 32.58 billion), while Singapore was South Korea’s ninth investor in Asia in 2019 , pushing SG $ 8.37 billion ($ 6.11 billion) in investment.

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