Singapore-South Korea digital economy deal to sync up on data, payments

Singapore has finalised negotiations with South Korea on a digital economy agreement that will see both nations collaborate across several areas, including cross-border online payments, data flows, cryptography, and artificial intelligence (AI). The partnership is touted to establish “forward-looking” digital trade rules and drive interoperability between digital systems.

South Korea also will be the first Asian market to sign on for Singapore’s Digital Economy Agreement, the latter’s fourth following similar pacts with the UK, announced last week, as well as Australia and Chile and New Zealand.

Under the digital agreement, data localisation would not be permitted unless necessary for specific purposes, such as regulatory access, the two partners said Wednesday in a joint statement. This would facilitate secured data transfers between organisation in both nations and enable them to decide where they want to store and process their data, according to their business requirements. 

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

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