Boris Johnson teases a new trade deal in Parliament
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The Berwick upon Tweed MP was appointed to oversee the UK’s trade deals as part of a reshuffle of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet last week. She has an unenviable task of living up to Liz Truss’s achievements.
Ms Truss’s success in signing dozens of trade deals made her a firm favourite among Conservative party members.
Mrs Trevelyan will set out her plans to unleash digital trade in a speech to London Tech Week later today.
She wants the UK to play a pivotal role in “breaking down barriers” to forge a new global consensus on trading digital services internationally.
Speaking virtually, the minister will explain slashing red tape, shoring up data protection and reducing costs for British businesses is central to boosting UK service exports.
The digital sector already plays a huge part in the UK economy.
In 2019, digital trade was worth £326billion, and in total, the sector contributed £150.6billion to the UK economy.
International trade deals often largely ignore the digital services industry.
But last year the UK agreed to terms on digital trade in its comprehensive free trade agreement with Japan.
Negotiations on a world-leading Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore were also started in June.
Mrs Trevelyan will outline her plans to further increase digital exports when addressing the technology festival.
She said ahead of the speech: “All of us depend on digital trade, yet British businesses face digital barriers in countries who take a protectionist approach.
“I want the UK to break down these barriers and open up new, exciting opportunities for businesses and consumers so we can see improved productivity, jobs and growth.
“Our five-point plan is the first step in shaping international digital trade policy for decades to come.
“Through our network of international agreements, we are breaking new ground, pushing forward innovative ideas and setting a new gold standard for digital trade.”
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Under the five-point plan the new International Trade Secretary is looking to:
- Increase access to digital markets abroad to help businesses export their services
- Reduce bureaucracy on data flows internationally
- Increase protections on intellectual property
- Promote digital customs processes to cut red tape and make trade easier
- Push for the inclusion of digital trade in more free trade deals internationally
The digital services industry already employs 4.6 percent of the UK’s workforce.
But many businesses face barriers to international trade due to a failure to adapt to the digital age.
Mrs Trevelyan’s championing of digital services follows Ms Truss’s attempts to help boost the industry on the world stage.
The UK is also hoping to use its presidency of the G7 to establish a uniform approach between allies on digital trade.
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