UK can reap the rewards of Brexit! Road map to British success laid out

Indo-Pacific tilt 'terrifically important' for UK trade says Singham

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Alice Calder, a political commentator and economics PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales, said trade deals signed last year with the likes of Australia and Singapore aim to put the UK in the “strongest possible position to trade with technologically advanced and rapidly advancing markets”. The digital economy is expected to grow to be worth 24.3 percent of global GDP by 2025, according to one recent report.

This growth has not only been driven by modern technology, but also by the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented travel and saw a great deal of business go online.

According to Ms Calder, the UK is “ramping up its digital policy” to meet the challenge of this growing market.

Last September, the UK released its five-point plan for the future of digital trade, ahead of other G7 nations.

The “ambitious” plan called for Government policy to make it “simpler and cheaper” for businesses to trade internationally, as well as “advancing high standards in consumer and [intellectual property] protections”.

The Government will also champion modern systems “to help businesses cut through needless paperwork” and open up the economy to digital markets.

These sentiments were echoed in the post-Brexit trade deal signed with Australia in December, which contained an entire chapter devoted to digital trade.

Ms Calder commented that the commitments in that trade deal “tend to fall into two broad categories.

“The first is the liberalisation of digital trade, making it easier and quicker.

“This involves things like reducing localisation measures that make it difficult to roll out products and services across multiple locations, and removing barriers such as paper-based administration documents.

“The second is improving and streamlining safety and privacy measures, so often a concern in digital transactions.

“This applies to both consumers and businesses alike, such as protecting personal data and reducing spam, but also measures to protect and foster innovation by preventing forced technology transfers.”

Also in December, the UK signed a digital economy agreement with Singapore, which the Government said was the “world’s most comprehensive digital trade deal”.

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It promises to “ensure that UK businesses have open access to Singapore’s digital economy” and “slash red tape” when it came to trade between the two nations.

Ms Calder said: “As the UK continues to amend current deals and draft new ones it will be essential that digital elements remain cutting edge.”

She added that “improving cybersecurity, data storage and industry development are the main targets” for the UK.

The Government “hopes that combined these deals will put the country in the strongest possible position to trade with technologically advanced and rapidly advancing markets in Asia,” Ms Calder wrote in City AM today (Thursday).

This will be especially important as the UK looks to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The UK is currently in trade negotiations with the US, and is preparing to negotiate trade deals with Canada, India and Gulf states.

Ms Calder said all these upcoming deals “are likely going to see digital trade play a key role.

“Continuing to take a firm stance on the importance of removing barriers to digital trade, harmonising practises and promoting innovation will be essential in making the most of the UK’s comparative advantage in a booming technological sector.

“The successes of the past few months are a great sign, but with technology moving at a breakneck pace, the importance of digital trade cannot be overestimated in 2022.”

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