The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) called for submissions to inform the way forward as a part of the progression (and negotiations) on the Australia and Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (The Agreement).
The Agreement is anticipated to cover modern digital trade rules and facilitate bilateral cooperation on areas including digital trade facilitation, e‑invoicing, e-payments, FinTech and cooperation on the digitisation of trade documents, artificial intelligence, digital identities, and e-certification for exports. Australia and Singapore will seek to establish modern rules on the regulation of cross-border data flows and localisation of computing facilities, and establish benchmarks for improving safety and consumer experiences online.
Key points from our submission include:
- The Government should consider practical support for small to medium entities (SMEs) as they adapt their business infrastructure to the changing nature of payment practices through digital technologies.
- We suggest DFAT considers the inclusion of provisions safeguarding consumer and SME access to internet communications and minimising the risk of anti-competitive behaviour by dominant players. This could be achieved through a commitment to net neutrality.
- We consider privacy and data protection safeguards that balance privacy rights and encourage innovation in the use of data sets are important and should be considered. We recommend that ASDEA ensures there are appropriate privacy and data protection standards in Australia and Singapore.
- We suggest the eight AI Ethics Principles from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science for AI use and development are considered as part of ASDEA.