techUK welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation on future trade negotiations with both Australia and New Zealand. techUK is supportive of FTAs with both countries that include deep and comprehensive provisions for digital trade and deals with these two countries can help set a high benchmark for the UK’s future trade policy.
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. Many of these issues are similar to the those discussed in techUK’s response to the consultation on negotiations with the US.
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. The total trade in digital services with the EU completely dwarfs that with Australia and New Zealand: in 2017, UK exports of telecommunications, computer and information services to the EU amounted to £9.085 billion. techUK therefore strongly urges Government to consider the impact of any agreements with Australia and New Zealand in the context of a UK-EU agreement. Future FTAs 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, Australia and New Zealand. 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 any FTAs could be concluded, there will be the need to implement a replacement to the UK’s participation in the EU-New Zealand mutual adequacy agreement to enable the continuing transfer of personal data. The UK-Australia Fintech Bridge is another non-FTA agreement that will do a lot to open markets and trade in an emerging area.
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.