UK and New Zealand reach agreement in principle on new FTA with a solid digital trade chapter

Yesterday, UK and New Zealand reached agreement in principle on a new Free Trade Agreement.

On digital trade, New Zealand and the UK have agreed in principle on ambitious commitments that will:

  • Enable cross-border data flows and avoid unjustified data localisation, while also ensuring governments can enact measures in respect to data protection, privacy and other legitimate public policy objectives.
  • Commit to open digital markets by establishing effective principles that allow businesses to operate fairly and competitively, including recognition that consumers benefit from reasonable treatment by internet service providers and a commitment not to impose customs duties on electronic transmissions.
  • Reduce barriers to digital trade by addressing restrictive practices such as requirements for paper-based trade administration documents, promotion of e-invoicing and a commitment to accept e-contracts except in circumstances provided for under New Zealand or the UK’s laws. The two countries will ensure that electronic transactions and electronic transferable records regulations are implemented in a manner consistent with international frameworks.
  • Promote a safe trading environment which builds business and consumer trust, including through commitments that discourage unsolicited commercial electronic messages (spam), protect personal information and support cooperation in the establishment of New Zealand’s and the UK’s respective digital identities frameworks. The two countries will also recognise the importance of working together on cyber security issues and encouraging businesses to improve their cyber security resilience.
  • Improve the accessibility, as appropriate, of publicly available, anonymised government data and information, in a machine-readable format for the purpose of economic, social and research benefit.
  • Protect innovation by preventing the forced tech transfer of encryption keys, subject to legitimate scrutiny and regulatory interventions by appropriate authorities alongside other protections to address emerging issues in these areas.
  • Support ongoing cooperation on important digital trade issues, including on digital innovation, emerging technologies, and digital identities. Both countries will cooperate on digital inclusion, to ensure that all people and businesses can harness the potential benefits arising from digital trade.

Further detail can be found here:

In response to today’s announcement, Julian David, techUK CEO, said:

Like Australia, New Zealand is a key partner for the UK in developing modern digital trade rules. techUK welcomes today’s Agreement in Principle, that includes a solid digital trade chapter. For tech businesses looking to scale beyond our borders, the biggest challenge is understanding and complying with the numerous rules and regulations in other markets. That is why we think the provisions committing the UK and New Zealand to regulatory cooperation on emerging technology, cyber security and digital identity are crucial. We’ll be working closely with the government in bringing these regulatory cooperation mechanisms to life so our industry can take full advantage of this modern FTA.

Underpinning this agreement in principle is the legal text of the agreement. Work to finalise the text in accordance with this document will continue over the coming weeks, alongside the commencement of the legal review and verification of the agreement.

Once the text has been finalised and legally verified, and domestic approval processes have been completed, arrangements will be made for the signing of the FTA. Following signature, and subject to completion of both countries’ domestic requirements, the FTA will enter into force.

Should members have any questions on the agreement in principle or next steps, they should reach out to [email protected]


Sabina Ciofu

Sabina Ciofu

Head of EU and Trade Policy , techUK

Sabina leads techUK's international policy and engagement. Based in Brussels, she manages our EU policy priorities as well as our international trade agenda.

Sabina leads techUK’s engagement with the European Union institutions, as well as the EU Member States. Outside of the EU, her work is focused on key trade partners, such as the USA and Japan, as well as key international organisations, such as the WTO and the OECD. Previously, she worked as Policy Advisor in the European Parliament for almost a decade, where she specialised in tech regulation, international trade and EU-US relations.

Sabina is the founder of the Gentlewomen’s Club, co-organiser of the Young Professionals in Digital Policy and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, where she has led several youth civic engagement and gender equality projects.

She sits on the Advisory Board of the UCL European Institute and The Nine, Brussels’ first members-only club designed for women, holds an MA in War Studies from King’s College London and a BA in Classics from the University of Cambridge.

[email protected]
+32 473 323 280

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