Opening Remarks by 2M Tan See Leng at the Korea-Singapore Agreement Signing Ceremony Digital Partnership

Opening Remarks by 2M Tan See Leng at the Korea-Singapore Agreement Signing Ceremony Digital Partnership

1. A very good afternoon to everyone.


2. First, I would like to warmly welcome Minister Dukgeun Ahn and his team to Singapore. We appreciate you taking the time to visit Singapore for the signing of the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement, or KSDPA for short.


3. Singapore and the Republic of Korea (ROK) enjoy warm bilateral ties, anchored by strong trade and investment linkages and people-to-people exchanges. The ROK is a popular holiday destination for many Singaporeans, no doubt sparked by the popularity of Korean shows. I am pleased to hear that many Koreans are also increasingly familiar with Singapore through such content. For example, the latest Netflix top K-drama, Little Women, was partially filmed in Singapore and showcased many iconic Singapore attractions. We recently also released the film, Ajoomma, a Singapore-Korean co-production that premiered at the Busan Film Festival last month.


4. In 2021, bilateral trade between Singapore and the ROK grew 26%, making the ROK Singapore’s 7th largest trading partner. Our economic cooperation has expanded to many new areas such as promoting innovation and startups, the green economy, and of course, the digital economy. The digital economy is increasingly integrated into our lives, as the use of digital technologies such as digital identities and electronic payments become commonplace. Consumers and businesses have benefitted from digitalisation, although its rapidly evolving nature means that the risk for displacement and disruption is also higher. We need to navigate carefully and adapt nimbly to these changes, so that we can unlock the potential of the digital economy and seize the growing opportunities. This can be achieved more easily if we work together, as the growth of our digital economy and trade will be boosted by the closer cross-border integration of our digital ecosystems.


5. Today’s signing of the KSDPA marks a significant milestone in the multi-faceted economic relations between our countries. The KSDPA is the first Digital Economy Agreement, or DEA, concluded between two Asian countries. The KSDPA, Singapore’s fourth DEA, will strengthen the digital connectivity between Singapore and the ROK by aligning digital rules and standards, supporting cross-border data flows, and encouraging cooperation in new and emerging areas.


6. Building on the KSDPA, we will also be signing the MOU on Implementing the Korea-Singapore Digital Economy Dialogue[1] today. The MOU creates a platform for both sides to promote mutually beneficial business collaborations and strengthen our digital industries. We have also concluded negotiations for two other MOUs[2], to be signed later this year – on Artificial Intelligence and on the Electronic Exchange of Data between our customs administrations. These MOUs will provide a framework to enhance bilateral cooperation on forward-looking and emerging issues.


7. It gives me great pleasure to be here with Minister Ahn to sign the KSDPA. This marks the beginning of a stronger digital partnership between Singapore and the ROK, and I look forward to growing our digital economies together. Thank you.



[1] The Dialogue will include: (i) holding of webinars and forums; (ii) development of government-to-government and government-to-business cooperation projects; (iii) organisation of workshops and roundtables to expand opportunities for inter-industry exchanges; and (iv) advancement of cooperation in discussions on global trade rules.

[2] The A.I. MOU will promote the sharing of best practices and exchange of information on A.I. issues. The MOU on Electronic Exchange of Data will facilitate the electronic verification of the authenticity of certificate of origins and certificates of non-manipulation, and both sides will endeavour to establish digital connectivity required to exchange data to facilitate trade.  


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