PM Lee welcomes Canada's application to join digital-only trade deal in phone call with PM Trudeau

SINGAPORE – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has welcomed Canada’s application to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (Depa) in a telephone call with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on Tuesday (May 31).

They reaffirmed the excellent bilateral relationship between the two countries, which spans areas like the economy, infrastructure, smart cities and cyber security, according to a statement from PM Lee’s press secretary.

PM Lee and PM Trudeau also discussed Canada’s growing engagement with the Asia-Pacific region and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

They reaffirmed the principles enshrined in the United Nations charter, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.

Depa is the world’s first digital-only trade agreement signed between Singapore, Chile and New Zealand in June 2020, in a bid to fashion a consistent regulatory framework for the digital economy across areas such as data protection, artificial intelligence and emerging technologies.

South Korea and China requested to join late in 2021 while Canada applied earlier this month.

Singapore has also invited Thailand to participate in the trade tool, according to Thai news reports last week.

Depa was the first digital economy agreement concluded by Singapore, and was followed by three similar pacts signed between the Republic and Australia, Britain and South Korea individually.


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