20 Oct 2023
by Mark Beresford

Digital trade ecosystems needed to face compliance challenges for tech exporters

Guest blog by Mark Beresford, TMT Sector Specialist at Santander UK plc. #LocalDigitalIndex

Current Landscape

West Midlands tech and digital companies are striving hard to unlock new international trade and business opportunities in the face of global economic headwinds and an increasingly uncertain operating environment. This is characterised by a step change in the complexity of the compliance and regulatory environment in key global markets. EU-exit fall out, on-going geopolitical tensions and supply chain constraints have compounded the business challenges facing local companies. New opportunities are slowly emerging through Free Trade Agreements with higher growth economies and a more independent UK trade policy.


The compliance and regulatory challenges facing tech exporters can be illustrated by new developments in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, data privacy and international standards.

Artificial Intelligence - areas to watch in the future are regulation on the use of AI, as well as the regulation relating to the use of Generative AI.[1] In July 2023, the White House reported that leading US companies have committed to ensuring their products are ‘safe’ before introducing them to the public by testing their AI systems to assess their potential biological, cybersecurity, and societal risks. The US government has announced it will be looking into developing international frameworks to ensure the safe and secure development of AI.

Data Privacy - the increasing amounts of customer and user data held across the US Smart City and Mobility sectors market can pose a significant challenge to UK companies in terms of understanding the differences between US federal and increasingly state-related data compliance and privacy regulation. Although the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) is currently undergoing review, the US currently lacks one comprehensive federal law governing data privacy. However, it does have a complex patchwork of sector- and medium-specific laws and regulation that cover telecommunications, health information, credit information, financial institutions, and marketing. US states such as California (California Consumer Privacy Act CCPA and the 2023 Californian Privacy Rights Act CPRA), Virginia and Massachusetts have developed their own data privacy regimes and legislation to protect both consumers and businesses.

International Standards - The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are working to establish standards for EV charging infrastructure, including interoperability standards for EV chargers and payment systems. These standards are intended to make it easier for consumers to use EV charging stations and to promote the growth of the EV charging infrastructure. The North American Charging Standard (NACS), developed and owned by Tesla, has become an important standard in the US and is seeing increasing adoption by some manufacturers present in North America. In parallel, a group of major automotive manufacturers have also recently announced plans to install 30,000 new chargers across North America starting in 2024. These will support both the Combined Charging System (CCS) and the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connectors.

No wrong front door

To overcome these increasing compliance challenges, West Midlands companies need to lean into a new world of digital trade ecosystems where the boundaries between sectors and markets, and public and private stakeholders, are much more closely interconnected.

Santander Navigator (www.santandernavigator.co.uk) is a new SaaS based digital trade facilitation platform with a highly curated ecosystem of trusted global content and solution providers. It provides unique insights, tools and support for UK tech and digital companies at every step of their international trade journey. Designed to help companies save time and money in dealing with regulation and compliance and with over two hundred and fifty specialist providers covering thirty-five global markets, the platform provides subscribers with a ‘no wrong front doors’ end-to-end export support package. Digital first, but always with a human touch!

techUK’s Local Digital Index Campaign Week #LocalDigitalIndex

techUK’s Local Digital Index Campaign Week #LocalDigitalIndex

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Mark Beresford

Mark Beresford

TMT Sector Specialist, Santander UK plc.

Mark Beresford is a global business and technology specialist with over twenty-five years of international commercial experience in markets ranging from EU, Asia Pacific, India and the US. He currently works as Technology, Media & Telecoms (TMT) Sector Specialist for Santander UK plc. His focus is on the continuous development of the global value proposition and content/solution provider ecosystem for TMT for Santander Navigator. This is a SaaS based digital trade facilitation platform designed to support UK tech companies with their global go-to-market and international trade growth plans.

Mark has an MBA from Lancaster University Management School and is also an entrepreneur, having co-founded his own company in 2005, which provides international trade, inward investment and innovation support to UK and international economic development clients.

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