Two international agreements have been signed off on over the past fortnight by the UK Government. These are a digital free trade deal between UK and Singapore, and a free trade agreement between UK and New Zealand.
UK and Singapore sign a pioneering digital trade agreement
The first was a far-reaching Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) with Singapore, which will help “businesses seize new opportunities and lay the ground rules for modern global trade”. Secretary of State Anne-Marie Trevelyan signed the agreement with Singapore’s Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, S. Iswaran, on the final day of her Asia-Pacific tour, following visits to Indonesia and Japan.
This is the most innovative trade agreement ever signed, and the first by a European country. The trading relationship with Singapore was worth £16 billion in 2020, and this move links two of the world’s most dynamic hi-tech and services hubs.
Other benefits of this include: free and trusted cross-border data flows, stronger cybersecurity defences and increased safety around intellectual property, data and money.
The DEA will also support the UK’s bid to join Singapore and 10 other nations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The accession talks recently moved to their second phase in the process.
UK and New Zealand seal free trade agreement to slash red tape
On 28 February, it was announced that the UK had signed a free trade agreement with New Zealand in London, another key step towards CPTPP accession. This agreement will remove trade barriers on a wide range of UK goods and services and provide new opportunities for British businesses.
The deal was agreed in principle in October 2021, and the negotiating teams have worked to intensely to finalise the agreement.
The UK-New Zealand trade relationship was worth £2.3 billion in 2020 and is now expected to increase by almost 60%, boosting the economy by £800 million and increasing wages across the UK. According to the Government, red tape will be slashed for the 5,900 UK SMEs who export goods to New Zealand and employ 233,000 people. Benefits for smaller businesses include arrangements for them to break into the New Zealand market easier, as a result of modernised customs procedures, such as digital documents and customs clearance as quick as six hours.
“Our trade with New Zealand will soar, benefiting businesses and consumers throughout the UK and helping level up the whole country. Like all our new trade deals, it is part of a plan to build a network of trade alliances with the most dynamic parts of the world economy, so we set the UK on a path to future prosperity”, said International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan.