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Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing at the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement Trilateral Press Conference

Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing at the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement Trilateral Press Conference

1. First let me thank Minister Robert Ampuero and Vice Minister Rodrigo Yanez for your leadership and your hospitality. 

2. This agreement that Singapore, New Zealand and Chile is embarking on – the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement is indeed a pathfinder agreement. We are very excited to embark on this partnership with our two like-minded countries for the following reasons. 

3. First, we see the digital economy as the future that will underpin not just the conventional economy, but will also break new grounds, to create new opportunities for businesses and people. 

4. Second, for relatively small economies like Singapore, Chile and New Zealand, the digital economy is a way for us to tap into the global potential of all other economies, by integrating our economies together on the cyber space so that we can leverage on each other’s respective strengths to promote our respective developments and create more jobs for our people. 

5. Third, I think it is important for us as relatively small economies to leverage on this new domain to transcend our traditional constraints of geography and size limitations. And you will notice that it is rather unique for us – Singapore, New Zealand and Chile, in three different parts of the world. 

6. In conventional economics, we might be divided by long distances. But actually, in today’s new digital economy, we are united by common platforms that we have that will transcend the tyranny of distances. So this is why we are so excited to work on this. And as both my counterparts Mr David Parker and Mr Roberto Ampuero were saying, we hope that this will also catalyse new and like-minded partners to come on board and join us in this venture. 

7. Because the digital economy, unlike the conventional economy is not a zero sum game. There is a network effect - the more people join the digital economy, the greater the benefits that we have. The more people use the data, the more valuable the data becomes. 

8. So it is not a zero sum game, it is different from the previous way that we look at resources like oil, gas and other materials where, when I consume something, you can’t have it and you will be deprived of it. But in the digital economy, the more we work together, the more value is created. 

9. So therein lies all these opportunities that we hope to see. But there are also many challenges that we have to overcome together. How do we create new rules to enable new business models to come together? 

10. We can harmonize the platform in terms of electronic invoicing, to save time and cost. We can also have common platforms for digital identities, so we can trade on a trusted platform. We can see how we can enhance our data flows across the different economies, so we can govern them properly and assure the market that we have the correct rules to balance both the concerns of individuals and yet create new opportunities. 

11. There are many new opportunities for us to challenge ourselves to come up with new regulations, new rules, to enable new business opportunities. So these are just some examples of the exciting areas that we hope to achieve under this Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, starting with Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. We welcome other like-minded partners to come on board and join us as we go along, so that we can lead the way in the era of the global economy. 

12. Thank you very much.

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