techUK welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation on future trade negotiations with the United States. techUK is supportive of an FTA with the US that includes deep and comprehensive provisions for digital trade. techUK’s response to this consultation focuses most heavily on those areas of particular priority to techUK members. These include the Digital, Telecoms, Intellectual Property and Services chapters of the consultation. However, we have referenced views in other areas where relevant.
It is also important to recognise that tech operates as an underpinning industry for both the UK and US economies, meaning that wider impact of an FTA on supply chains and other sectors will have a direct impact on the benefits of any FTA to the UK tech sector. This is especially the case in areas that are currently in the process of digital transformation, such as fintech, medtech and autonomous vehicles, where wider regulatory and financial barriers applicable to those sectors will also have a bearing on tech companies operating in those sectors.
In responding to this consultation, techUK is clear that for the majority of our members, ensuring ongoing alignment with the EU is their central priority. This includes for US owned tech companies, who largely operate out of the UK to serve the wider European market. techUK therefore strongly urges Government to consider the impact of any agreement with the USA in the context of a UK-EU agreement. A future UK-US FTA should not jeopardise EU alignment.
techUK also stresses that an FTA is not, and should not be seen as, the sole mechanism for facilitating increased trade between the UK and the USA. In addition to significant steps to improve trade facilitation, based on the welcome work already being undertaken by the Department for International Trade, there are also other mechanisms of agreement the UK should explore and, in some cases, prioritise over an FTA. For example, once the UK leaves the EU, and before a future UK-US FTA could be concluded, there will be the need to implement a replacement to the UK’s participation in Privacy Shield to enable the continuing free flow of personal data between the UK and the USA.
Finally, techUK believes that it is essential for the UK Government to set out in detail its plans for the ongoing consultation of businesses before entering in to any negotiation with the USA or other potential partners. While techUK welcomes the opportunity to feed into the development of the Government’s trade policy through this consultation, it is difficult to have confidence in how trade negotiations will be conducted without a clear mechanism for businesses to input.
Read the full submission via the link below and if you would like to discuss further please get in touch with Giles Derrington or Thomas Goldsmith.