Fta Symposium 2019 20 Years Of Free Trade Agreements

16. For the future, we must remain flexible in our international business strategy. The substance and modality of trade are constantly evolving. New business models are on the rise, sectors are largely disrupted by technology and digitalization. Similarly, consumer behavior is changing rapidly with the advent of e-commerce. 17. Digital is the future. The cross-border movement of bits and bytes is increasing exponentially. According to McKinsey, the amount of data that exceeds the limits in 2017 is 148 times greater than in 2005. And Alibabas AliResearch predicts that cross-border sales of B2C e-commerce will reach about $1 trillion by 2020, while B2B-E-Commerce could be five or six times larger. In ASEAN, the digital economy is expected to reach $300 billion by 2025, three times more than a year.

18. Current trade rules and policies do not adequately meet the needs of the digital economy. Many of our existing trade agreements were designed for the trade of physical goods and services of the twentieth century, but are less suited to the digital transactions of the twenty-first century. 19.C is why, in the same pioneering spirit as twenty years ago, when we started our first free trade agreement, we are trying to create a new digital trade architecture. Singapore has started working on new types of partnerships called digital economy agreements (or DEAs). These AEDs aim to establish clear and harmonised international rules and cooperation mechanisms that promote greater interoperability between digital environments and protect them from digital and data barriers. This is an area of work in which the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Communications and Information collaborate in Singapore. 20. AEDs will address new areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and digital identities. In the field of AI, for example, we will encourage information exchange and cross-border cooperation in the development and promotion of ethical AI governance frameworks, as well as the use of data to support the development of AI.

21. First, we work with like-minded and progressive countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Chile. Our DEA negotiations with these countries are progressing well and we hope to share some positive news with you soon. 22. We are also the WTO leaders in digital trade.

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