AustCham undertook a workshop on the 5 September 2019 to facilitate the gathering of ideas from members of AustCham’s Digital Economy Industry Group. The workshop welcomed 26 attendees from the Australian and Singaporean digital business communities and included special guests from DFAT and the Australian High Commission. Focus was provided by the DFAT brief outlining the timeline and objectives.
- A scoping framework should be ready by October 2019, the full agreement hopefully negotiated and concluded by end of 2019.
- The core objective for the agreement is to foster practical cooperation between Australian and Singapore at both Industry and Government Level.
- The new agreement is meant to be much more than a trade agreement and complement the already existing FTAs and treaties between Australia and Singapore.
There were seven key topics discussed and input from the group included:
DIGITAL TRADE FACILITATION
- Need to identify main outcomes for digital documentation, balancing cost, safety and speed.
- Understanding of beneficiaries and priorities. SMEs, Ports, Shipping, and Logistics Companies were identified by the group as the prime sectors currently affected.
CROSS BORDER DATA FLOWS
- Focus on key sectors should be included; Financial Services and Health were highlighted.
- Data Privacy Rules and Data Sovereignty Rules that currently inhibit flows of data hampering company’s expansion across borders need to be addressed.
CROSS BORDER PAYMENTS
- Removing the costs and other barriers to cross-border payments, include focus on costs of transfer, taxes and reciprocal acceptance of background checks.
- Talent movement and broader opening of visa options for startups are inhibiting expansion.
- Development of compliance reciprocity and compliance frameworks will remove barriers.
- Definition of common privacy principles are needed.
- Common standards for ethical use need to be agreed.
- Opportunity to build common individual and corporate digital identities that can be used across both countries.
DIGITAL STANDARDS AND RESEARCH COLLABORATION
- Development of common digital standards across key areas, including payments, crypto-currencies, Cyber-security and e-commerce.
- Development of partnerships with Academic Research and Standards Bodies.
- Focus on standards for privacy that will allow for the flow of data across borders.
Based on the invaluable contributions shared by our members during the workshop, the AustCham Digital and Cyber Industry Group was able to capture these insights to provide a formal submission for the Australia and Singapore Digital Cooperative Initiative. We thank our members for their active participation in our group and look forward to more constructive and engaging sessions ahead in this domain.
Our Digital group continues to invite members who would like to expand their network, provide input into industry papers and share ideas round the digital transformation.