New Zealand will join Chile and Singapore in talks to establish new trade rules and best practice for the digital era.
According to a recent press release, New Zealand’s Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker, together with Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Roberto Ampuero and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing announced the start of the negotiations on the side lines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade in Viña del Mar, Chile.
The three countries have a strong record of working together on the rules and best practice for international trade policy.
The three nations were architects of the P4 Agreement, which was the foundation for CPTPP, and are strong supporters of open markets and inclusive trade.
The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (P4) between Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Singapore, and New Zealand is the first free trade agreement linking Asia, the Pacific and the Americas.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), meanwhile, is a free trade agreement involving New Zealand and 10 other countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Digital trade is the future
New Zealand Minister Parker shared that the future of international trade is digital.
The unprecedented growth of digital trade has led to a lag in the development of relevant international trade rules and norms.
These talks are an opportunity for New Zealand to help shape the international rules in this area.
This will guarantee that they make it easier for the country’s businesses and consumers to take advantage of digital trade opportunities, while protecting public and private interests.
The Government will ensure that issues of importance to New Zealanders such as personal privacy, consumer protection, data management, transparency and openness are appropriately protected.
To a trade-dependent country distant from key markets, digital trade can help businesses, particularly small and medium sized enterprises, overcome the challenges of scale and distance.
Moreover, digital technologies can potentially support the increased participation in trade by women, Māori and rural communities.
It will help spread the benefits of trade across the communities and regions, which is a key aim of the Trade for All policy.
The Minister explained that the CPTPP already has modern e-commerce rules, which underlines the importance of that agreement.
However, as digital trade continues to grow and change, new barriers arise and new international approaches are required.
Beneficial for all
The negotiation with Chile and Singapore on a new digital trade agreement will also complement and support the ongoing WTO negotiations on e-commerce, as well as digital economy work streams within APEC and the OECD.
Additionally, in light of the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch and the Government’s strong concern about the role of internet technologies in enabling and promoting violent extremism, New Zealand will also be looking to explore with Singapore and Chile how the agreement might address digital economy issues relating to a safe, secure and free internet.
This will include the issue of eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms so important for the fourth estate.