Australia Signs Digital Trade Agreement with Singapore

August 20, 2020

On 6 August, Australia and Singapore signed the Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement (SADEA). The trade pact will form a new chapter in the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), upgrading existing arrangements.

Singapore is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner in South-East Asia. SADEA intends to strengthen this partnership by creating digital trade processes conducive to the growing e-commerce market.

Driving digital cohesion will ensure greater efficiency, security, transparency and traceability for exporters.

According to Federal Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, “The Agreement will deliver practical improvements to lower costs and make it easier for exporters to do business.”

SADEA is supported by multiple Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) that aim to harmonise standards and provide a framework for bilateral cooperation. These include a commitment to developing an interoperable e-invoicing system, agricultural imports and export e-certification, and paperless customs procedures using e-authentication.

The successful achievement of actions outlined in the MoUs will reduce administrative costs, simplify processes and shorten processing times.

Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, stated “The [agreement] will facilitate digitalisation of trade processes and make it easier and more cost effective for Singapore companies to engage in cross border business activities with Australia.”

SADEA will now undergo tabling in Parliament and consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties prior to ratification.

The agreement is the latest in a string of actions that will aid Australia’s COVID-19 trade recovery. This includes the launch of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) and the removal of a number of discriminatory wine regulations in Canada.

For further information, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs website or contact your local Seabridge representative on 1800 727 195.