UK-Singapore digital trade deal expected to prove a boon to Scottish fintech firms
Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart has hailed the agreement of a UK-Singapore digital trade agreement, saying it will pave the way for further international collaboration for Scotland’s tech businesses.
The Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), which the UK Government claims will “cut costs, slash red tape and pave the way for a new era of trade”, was agreed in principle last week following a six-month negotiation period.
The UK exported £16bn worth of goods and services to Singapore last year, a third of which were digitally delivered, focusing on sectors including finance. Stewart said the DEA is expected to be of benefit to Scotland’s fintech sector in particular.
“With 140 fintech companies based in Scotland and tech roles in Glasgow and Edinburgh increasing by more than a quarter in the past two years, our digital sector is flourishing,” he said.
“This progressive deal will enable our world-class tech industry to export to a new market and encourage international collaboration, all while helping tackle cyber threats and keep personal data safe.”
International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the deal was seen as essential because digital trade is “creating a new global economy, but it is still largely governed by old-fashioned rules that pre-date the digital revolution of the past 20 years”.
She added that the UK Government is looking to “update these rules for the digital age”.
Julian David, chief executive of trade association techUK, said the DEA was significant for the tech industry due to Singapore’s “longstanding status as one of the most innovative countries in digital trade policy”.
“This is exciting news for the tech sector and the broader services economy and techUK looks forward to helping bring this agreement to life,” he added.
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