06 Jul 2022

London Tech Week event roundup: Unpacking the UK’s free trade agreements in the Asia Pacific

On 17 June, techUK hosted a hybrid event focused on what commercial opportunities new free trade agreements bring to UK tech businesses and why digital trade policy matters for UK businesses looking to enter or already doing business in the APAC region.

This roundup is featured on #techUKDigitalTrade Campaign Week 

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With ambitious deals such as the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement, UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, the recent agreement in principle for a trade deal with New Zealand, the Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore, and CPTPP access negotiations, the UK is forging strong digital trade links in the Asia Pacific and taking substantive steps in pursing the “tilt” towards Indo-Pacific strategy.

The main barriers to digital trade are not things that happen at the borders. It's all the elements around the regulation of the digital economy that every country is thinking about, whether it's regulation of content, competition in digital markets, how you keep consumers safe, data flows, data protection. The UK-Australia FTA includes provision on regulatory cooperation in digital identities to promote compatibility, as well as provisions committing parties to open government data. The UK-SG DEA comprises five bilateral agreements between the UK and Singapore including cooperation on Fintech, Digital Customs, Cybersecurity, Digital Identities, Electronic Trade Documents and Electronic Invoicing. In our panel discussion we discussed how to ensure these commitments deliver benefits to businesses and how we can  bring these provisions to life.

The UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement came into force on 15 June. This agreement provides a strong platform for meaningful bilateral cooperation on tech and digital, allowing us to build common approaches to emerging issues and create new opportunities for innovative tech businesses. You can read more about what the UK-SG DEA means for your business here.

Speakers included: 

  • Natalie Black, Her Majesty's Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, Department for International Trade
  • Julian David, CEO, techUK
  • Sally Jones, Partner for Trade Policy, EY
  • Christopher Bush, Regional Director of the Asia Pacific Digital Trade Network, Department for International Trade
  • Nick Russell, Deputy Director of the Digital Trade Team, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Andrew Bud, Founder and CEO, iProov
  • Jana Psarska, Policy Manager for International Trade, techUK


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