Singapore, Ireland sign e-commerce cooperation deal

Singapore and Ireland will cooperate to promote electronic commerce in their two countries and to develop a clear and transparent regulatory and legal framework for e-commerce, government representatives from the two countries said in a statement Thursday.

David Lim, Singapore’s acting minister for information, communications and the arts, said that despite the bursting of the Internet bubble, e-commerce transactions have continued to grow in both volume and value terms.

While more companies and more economic sectors are adopting e-commerce, the huge potential of e-commerce as a means of improving operational efficiency and a generator of new business models has yet to be fully tapped, Lim said.

Among the aims of the cooperation are to encourage the private sector in both countries to drive the development of e-commerce networks and services, while relying on government to provide comprehensive consumer education and an appropriate regulatory environment.

Singapore has recently diverted much of its information and communication technology (ICT) cooperation towards strategic partners outside its immediate region.

While very few projects under the e-ASEAN project begun by the 10 ASEAN countries (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) have taken off, Singapore has signed bilateral ICT development agreements with Japan and India.

Singapore and Ireland share a similar demographic and economic profile. The Southeast Asian island-state has a population of 3.2 million and per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of US$26,976, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Ireland has a population of 3.8 million and per capita GDP of US$25,343.

Last year, the EIU ranked Singapore seventh in the world for “e-readiness”, which EIU defined as “the extent to which a country’s business environment is conducive to Internet-based commercial opportunities”. Ireland was ranked 14th, ahead of more prominent ICT countries such as France, Taiwan and South Korea.

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