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Digital ID interoperability features in South Korea-Singapore partnership agreement

Digital ID interoperability features in South Korea-Singapore partnership agreement

Governments of Singapore and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have signed the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA), which aims to create seamless and secure data flows between the two countries’ digital systems, according to a news release issued by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). The agreement includes 11 “modules,” one of which covers digital identity interoperability.

“Singapore and the Republic of Korea share a deep and wide-ranging partnership,” said Dr. Tan See Leng, Singapore’s Second Minister for Trade and Industry.

The two countries already share close ties economically and socially, through trade and tourism. (In 2021, they formed a bilateral “travel bubble,” to allow for travel without quarantine between the two regions). “The signing of the KSDPA,” said Dr. Tan See Leng, marks the beginning of a stronger digital partnership between our countries, and new opportunities for our businesses and communities.”

Specific aims of the KSDPA include a joint effort to establish digital trade rules and norms that promote operability between national systems. It includes a pledge to create secure, trusted digital identities, “which can bring benefits such as more reliable identify verification and faster processing of applications.” The agreement will strengthen bilateral cooperation around biometrics and personal data security, e-payments, and Artificial Intelligence. And, as part of implementing the agreement, the countries pledged to implement the Korea-Singapore Digital Economy Dialogue, to promote digital collaboration between industry leaders and experts, across sectors and economies.

Singapore initiated adoption of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) in 2020, with Chile and New Zealand. The novel, modular agreement is intended to “advance collaboration in the digital economy and enhance digital connectivity.” Based on existing e-commerce policy and free trade agreements, but designed as a flexible, standalone document that can be modernized as required, DEPA aims to regulate and facilitate business and trade in areas of the digital economy such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital identity, data flow and protection, digital inclusion, e-payments and fintech.

Canada may soon follow in South Korea’s steps. In May 2022, it submitted a formal request to initiate negotiations for joining DEPA.

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