Auckland, January 22, 2020
A new trade agreement signed by the New Zealand governments with the governments of Singapore and Chile will help exporters and consumers take advantage of opportunities offered by digital trade.
Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker, Chile Vice Trade Minister Rodrigo Yanez and Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing announced that talks on a Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) have been conclusive.
Keeping up with technology
Mr Parker said that New Zealand has played a key role in this new initiative to support digital trade and that it is an important step in making sure that trade rules reflect the digital era.
“We have moved quickly since launching negotiations in May last year to bring this Agreement together because we recognise that international trade rules have not kept up with the unprecedented growth of digital trade. We believe that small countries, not just large ones, should help shape the new rules,” he said.
Mr Parker said that DEPA will make it easier for New Zealand businesses and consumers to take advantage of digital trade opportunities, while protecting public and private interests.
“We think that this will be a pathfinder agreement that will apply initially to those countries but will expand over time. We have ensured that issues of importance to New Zealanders such as the Treaty of Waitangi, personal privacy, consumer protection, data management, transparency and openness are appropriately protected,” he said.
Digital technologies can help small and medium-sized enterprises overcome the challenges of scale and distance, support greater participation by women, Maori and rural communities, to help spread the benefits of trade widely, which is a key aim of our Trade for All policy, Mr Parker added.
“Digital trade is constantly evolving. We may not know what new technologies will emerge, but we know it is valuable to have open channels of communication with close partners to discuss issues this change can bring,” Mr Parker said.
According to him, DEPA complements the ongoing WTO-based negotiations on e-commerce, as well as work within APEC and the OECD.
“It is consistent with our support for multilateral rules, the DEPA is an ‘open plurilateral’ agreement, meaning it is open to other WTO members who can meet its high quality standards,” Mr Parker said.