A blueprint for UK Digital Trade - a techUK report

techUK's new report, ‘A blueprint for UK Digital Trade’ outlines the key policy areas where the UK can lead in the field of digital trade internationally.


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Early UK trade deals since leaving the EU, in particular the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), have recognised the importance of digital trade and established that the UK is serious about an ambitious digital trade policy. However, as the pandemic continues to accelerate digitisation across all sectors of society and the economy, further action is needed.

With recent research showing the UK has benefited thanks to the rise of digital trade with over 67% of service exports worth £190.3 billion being digitally delivered, the report, which follows a previous version published in January 2020, sets out the key areas where advanced digital trade policy and UK leadership will be needed in order to continue this trend and aid the UK economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • COVID-19 and its impact on digital trade
  • Digital protectionism
  • Multilateral digital trade policy
  • Digital trade and development
  • Digital trade in FTAs
  • Digital trade in other forums

The report suggests that the following recommendations, which use digital innovation across AI, data and fintech as key aiders in the field of digital trade, will majorly benefit the UK as it expands its scope of work across digital trade policy:

  • Enable the cross-border flow of data without compromising data protection standard.
  • Support the development of AI through enabling open government data and text and data mining while respecting intellectual property rights.
  • Establish cooperation on the regulation of AI, fintech and other emerging technologies.
  • Establish cooperation on cyber security issues with an emphasis on a risk-based approach.
  • Work towards internationally interoperable digital identities.
  • Use trade policy to further measures to protect online safety.

The report is launched in the context of the first techUK annual Digital Trade Conference, that’s taking place virtually today, covering global best practice in four key geographical areas: Australia/New Zealand/Singapore, Japan, WTO/European Union and USA/Canada.

Julian David
Since the publication of our first report in January 2020, we’ve seen early signs of solid digital trade chapters in the UK’s agreements, such as the CEPA with Japan and the TCA with the EU, but we have the opportunity to do much more in this space to help the UK economy recover from the pandemic. In this report, we outline how we can develop a bold policy that can establish the UK leadership in digital trade in a fast-changing international environment.

Julian David

CEO, techUK

For more information please contact: 

Sabina Ciofu

Sabina Ciofu

Associate Director – International, techUK