Singapore and the UK to embark on digital economy talks in 2021

Deborah Tan-Pink

 · 12/10/2020  · 12/10/2020

On Thursday, 10 December 2020, the UK's Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss and Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing signed a free trade agreement (FTA) to ensure that companies from both countries will enjoy the same benefits that they are receiving under the EU-Singapore FTA from the 1st of January 2021.

Both countries also agreed to start negotiations for a “digital economy agreement” next year to help facilitate cross-border digital trade - a first for Singapore with a European country.

How does this benefit Revolut?

The deal secures benefits for UK FinTech firms in Singapore. Singapore has agreed to start a review in 2021 to consider an increase in the limits imposed by the Payment Services Act on e-wallet payments, which affect a number of UK firms with operations in the republic, including Revolut. It will also discuss opportunities for UK firms to apply to become Digital Wholesale Banks in Singapore.

[Source: UK strikes Singapore and Vietnam trade deals, start of new era of trade with Asia]

How will this benefit you?

Currently, Revolut customers in Singapore are only able to hold up to S$5,000 (or its equivalent in foreign currency) at the end of the day. The Act also limits how much a customer can transact annually on the app - no more than S$30,000 (or its equivalent in foreign currency).

If and when these limits are increased, you will be able to use your Revolut account to manage more of your money and in more areas of your financial life.

James Shanahan, CEO of Revolut Singapore says:
"Digital trade between the UK and Singapore is now more important than ever as businesses increasingly shift online in the post-pandemic economy. This agreement will foster greater trust and commonality between and amongst regulators in both countries. Revolut––with its over 13 million customers worldwide––welcomes the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and increased cooperation between both countries.  We look forward to taking even more of our products to our customers here and creating more jobs in Singapore, the UK and beyond”.

Singapore is the UK’s largest trade and investment partner in the ASEAN, while Britain is the city-state’s top investment destination in Europe.