Singapore Update: Notes from Singapore Committee Q2 2018 Call

Singapore Update | June 18, 2018
Authors: Riley Smith and Mianmian Fei
 
NOTES FROM SINGAPORE COMMITTEE Q2 2018 CALL
 
 

On June 5, the Singapore Committee held its second Quarterly Call for 2018. During the call Dr. Jerrod Hansen, Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, briefed the Committee on the Singapore Joint Cyber Security Working Group (JCSWG), which aims to increase public and private sector cooperation on cybersecurity. Dr. Hansen’s official bio can be found here. The remainder of the call was dedicated to reviewing the revised 2018 Singapore Committee Work Plan (available here). Notes from the call are provided below. A pdf version of the call notes can be found here. If you have any questions about the call or the 2018 Work Plan, please contact Riley Smith at rsmith@usasean.org.

Notes from Singapore Committee Q2 2018 Call

Date and Time: Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at 9:00 AM EDT (Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at 9:00 PM Singapore time)

  • Briefing by Dr. Jerrod Hansen, Political Officer, U.S. Embassy in Singapore, on Singapore Joint Cyber Security Working Group (JCSWG)
  • U.S. Embassy in Singapore has a robust interagency process
    • 19 different agencies and offices working within the Embassy
      • A number of the offices also have regional responsibilities
    • There is an inter-agency working group that covers cyber security in the Embassy
      • In 2016, U.S. Department of Homeland Security signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cyber security with the Singapore Cyber Security Agency (CSA)
        • The MOU formalized a lot of what the Embassy has been doing on cyber security
      • Duty breakdown in U.S. Embassy inter-agency working group:
        • Dr. Hansen deals with cybersecurity policy, government-to-government engagement, and training
        • Mr. Matthew Mohlenkamp, Treasury Attaché, works with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and other central banks in the region
        • Legal Attaché that focuses on cybercrime
          • Works on training and operational issues in Singapore
        • Regional Commercial Officer that also serves as the Digital Attaché
          • Focuses on business and economic implications
        • A combined economic/political section deals with both economic and political sides of cyber security
  • The Joint Cyber Security Working Group (JCSWG):
    • Product of the Singapore-United States Third Country Training Program (TCTP)
      • TCTP is a partnership between Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and U.S. State Department that focuses on providing technical assistance to ASEAN countries
        • TCTP established in 2012
        • Technical assistance and training covers variety of topics, from public health to emergency responses.
      • TCTP holds cyber security and cybercrime training workshops
        • Weeklong workshops for government representatives from other ASEAN countries
        • Train with a team of subject matter experts assembled by U.S. Embassy and Government of Singapore (GOS)
          • Provides hands-on training, table topic exercises, policy reviews
        • Cyber security training has been extremely popular
          • Popularity and demand for training across region led us to the concept of the JCSWG
    • Singapore JCSWG similar in concept to Philippines JCSWG created by U.S. Embassy in Manila and Philippine Government a little more than year ago
      • JCSWG is a U.S. embassy facilitated working group made up of USG (Embassy), GOS, and private sector representatives
      • JCSWG focuses on issues important to these three groups
    • Singapore JCSWG differs from Philippines JCSWG in how it is implemented
      • Philippines is a very different environment in terms of cyber security priorities
        • Cybercrime is much more of a concern in the Philippines
        • Philippines JCSWG focuses more on law enforcement training
      • Singapore JCSWG will focus more on developed elements of cyber security
        • This includes licensing requirements for professionals and cyber security products
    • Aim of Singapore JCSWG is to identify common priorities and interests of GOS, USG, and private sector, then find ways to work together on training, policy review, etc.
  • Agenda of the first meeting on June 6
    • Will discuss:
      • Purpose of the JCSWG
      • How the JCSWG’s agenda will be developed
      • What the JCSWG will focus on
      • Where meetings will be held
    • Review the capacity building program
      • Cyber security training program of the CSA and Singaporean government
      • TCTP will serve as a template
    • Review cybersecurity ecosystem development
  • Participation in first meeting intentionally limited to keep conversation manageable
    • However, expect JCSWG to be open to more participants in the future
  • Next Singapore JCSWG meeting tentatively scheduled for late July/early August
    • Interested in exploring how business community can be represented at the 3rd Singapore International Cyber Week in mid-September
  • Q&A with Dr. Jerrod Hansen
    • Question: Will the training and capacity building activities extend to the private sector and the workforce as a whole, or will they be limited to helping build up the skills of those in the public sector?
    • Answer: Ecosystem development is a priority for Singapore
      • Goal is for these training opportunities to extend beyond the public sector
      • Goal is for activities to utilize resources of Singapore’s institutes of higher learning so that they do benefit the broader workforce
      • In general, JCSWG meetings will be a great time to propose activities for the public and private sectors
    • Question: Are there plans to extend the JCSWG model to other countries in ASEAN?
    • Answer: We would like to see the other countries and missions adopt the JCSWG model
      • The Singapore JCSWG and Singapore’s 2018 ASEAN Chairmanship is an opportunity to demonstrate what the model can offer other country governments and U.S. embassies in the region
      • At this time, I am not aware of any plans to extend the model to other countries
        • But if the JCSWG model is successful in Singapore, it could inspire others
    • Question: Could you elaborate the differences between the Singapore JCSWG and the Philippines JCSWG?
    • Answer: Philippines JCSWG is more focused on cybercrime
      • Philippines JCSWG works closely with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on best practices for protecting against and responding to cybercrime
      • They have a focus on domestic capacity building on the law enforcement side.
      • Singapore has a more regional focus because it is trying to use its position within the ASEAN as a leader on cyber security policy
        • Singapore has some ambitious ideas as to where ASEAN can go in terms of common cybersecurity policy
        • Cyber security is an important pillar of their Smart Nation initiative
          • Smart cities in an area in which they want to be a leader for the region
          • See the recently announced ASEAN Smart Cities Network
  • Review of 2018 Work Plan for Singapore Committee (Updated since after Q1 Call)
    • Work plan serves as a foundation for the themes and advocacy points of the upcoming Singapore Business Mission
    • Regulatory frameworks based on global best practices and norms that promote innovation and support the use of new technologies
      • Cross-border data flows to support development of digital economy/e-commerce
        • Unimpeded cross-border data flows to support digital economy
          • Advocate through ASEAN-US Digital Policy Consultative Forum with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)
      • Cybersecurity
        • Clarification on enforcement of licensing requirements for cybersecurity-related professionals and products in Cybersecurity Act 2018
          • Advocate through Sideline Engagement on Cybersecurity Norms and Areas for Capacity Building Collaborations during ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity
          • Participation in ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme (ACCP)
      • Data protection and privacy
        • Continued engagement proposed changes to the Personal Data Protection Act
      • Draft regulations on Digital Services Imports GST
      • Promote expansion of regulatory sandbox approach to industries outside fintech
      • Question: Are cloud services covered by the draft regulation on Digital Services Imports GST?
      • Answer: Cloud storage services are included in the list of digital services that would be covered by the GST
        • However, cloud-based telephony services (such as VOIP) are excluded from the tax
        • Full document for e-Tax Draft GST Guide on Taxing Imported Services by Way of an Overseas Vendor Registration Regime is available here
      • Comment: Two priority issues brought up at recent meeting with GOS officials – privacy and expansion of regulatory sandbox model
        • GOS clearly interested in expanding regulatory sandbox approach to other industries/sectors
        • Though unsure how it could be applied to some industries/sectors (e.g. healthcare)
      • Answer:  Will revise the work plan to reflect that GOS already supports expanding the regulatory sandbox model
        • Will be helpful to find out what the primary sectors are for this expansion
    • Improving human capital development and management for Singapore’s future economy
      • Increased flexibility in immigration policies to allow companies to meet their workforce needs (skilled labor and management) in future economy growth sectors (e.g. cyber, analytics, fintech)
      • Co-development of educational and training programs through partnerships between U.S. companies and Singaporean institutes of higher learning/training programs
        • Advocate through Sideline Engagement on Cybersecurity Norms and Areas for Capacity Building Collaborations during ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity
        • Participation in ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme (ACCP)
      • Support Government of Singapore initiatives promoting digital capabilities for SMEs
        • Data management for SMEs
        • Use of data to link SMEs to global supply chains
        • Use of digital platforms forms for brand building and social marketing
      • Comment: During Third Symposium on the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) on June 4 data management for SMEs was topic of great discussion
        • Recommend that we include in workplan some SME training specifically on supply chain management using ASW
        • Will help popularize ASW and get SMEs used to dealing with government bureaucracy surrounding ASW
    • How U.S. private sector can help Singapore achieve its 2018 ASEAN Chair goals
      • Innovation and the digital economy
        • Potential areas for engagement with Government of Singapore in 2018:
          • Development of e-commerce trade rules for ASEAN
          • Development of regional norms and standards for cybersecurity professionals and products
          • ASEAN Smart Cities Network
      • Facilitating seamless trade and movement of goods within ASEAN
        • Potential areas for engagement with Government of Singapore in 2018:
          • ASEAN Single Window
          • ASEAN-wide self-certification regime for exporters in region
      • Deepening services integration and reducing impediments to investment
        • Potential areas for engagement with Government of Singapore in 2018:
          • Conclusion on ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement
      • Cultivating a conducive regulatory environment, especially with regard to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the circular economy
        • Potential areas for engagement with Government of Singapore in 2018
          • Urban sustainability initiatives, especially those tied to Smart Nation
          • ASEAN-level policies on the circular economy, especially as they relate to the issue of ocean plastics/waste in the natural environment
      • Deepening ties between ASEAN and its external partners
      • Question: Clarification on “circular” economy?
      • Answer: “Circular economy” refers to way to view of economy that is different from typical “linear” view of economy
        • Linear view is “make, use, dispose”
        • Circular puts more emphasis on sustainability by utilizing recycling/re-use programs
        • Recycling at individual consumer-level is quite difficult in Singapore
          • Advocacy could focus on how to help GOS implement a clearer recycling program geared towards the general public
        • Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources has not been one that we have regularly met with during the annual business mission
          • But it is something we can consider during mission planning
          • Past Ministers for the Environment and Natural Resources have moved on to other positions in the Cabinet, such as the Minister for Foreign Affairs
      • Comment: Latest version of ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce has some provisions in it that are worrying and is not up to the standards that we would like to see
        • Could we leverage the Singapore Committee along with other committees at the Council to push for improving the draft ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce?
          • As 2018 Chair of ASEAN, Singapore can help serve as standard setter with the agreement
          • Want to ensure that the standards the agreement sets are conducive to business  
      • Answer: The ICT and Singapore Committees can coordinate on how to address this issue
        • We will keep both Committees updated as to the efforts on improving the draft ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce
  • Upcoming events
    • Briefing on ASEAN Smart Cities Network on June 12
      • During the 32nd ASEAN Summit at the end of April, Singapore released a concept note for its proposed ASEAN Smart Cities Network
      • Singapore has made its Smart Cities Network its flagship initiative under its ASEAN chairmanship themes of "Resilience" and "Innovation"
    • Breakfast Briefing with Singapore Ambassador Ashok Mirpuri on June 19
      • Breakfast has been postponed until a later date
      • Ambassador Mirpuri was called back to Singapore for meeting surrounding the June 12 United States-North Korea Summit
    • 2018 Singapore Business Mission
      • Mission will take place August 20-21
      • Official registration email will be sent out later this month