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Digital Trade

The UK-Australia FTA ensures the free flow of trusted data and allows for easier ways to trade.

This guidance is an explanation of UK-Australia FTA Chapter 14: Digital Trade

New opportunities for digital trading

The UK-Australia FTA harnesses the potential of digital technologies to make all forms of trade cheaper, easier, and faster.

The FTA:

  • ensures the free flow of trusted data and sets world-leading standards for personal data protection
  • ensures the legal recognition of electronic contracts and signatures
  • allows our businesses to trade and invest more freely, and creates opportunities for the UK and Australia to collaborate on shared challenges

Some of the key benefits to trade are listed below.

Free data flows and digital trading systems

The FTA includes a wide range of measures that ensure digital trade is as unimpeded as possible. Traders across all sectors of the economy can take full advantage of these new measures to conduct cross-border trade more easily, cheaply, and quickly. Traders do not need to take specific action to benefit from these commitments.

Free flow of trusted data

Traders will not be required to locally store or process data as a requirement for conducting business in the other market, unless for a justified reason. This means that British businesses operating in Australia can plan their business growth knowing that they can collect, process, and transfer data between the two countries, without facing unnecessary red tape or costs.

The agreement more generally promotes the free flow of data while committing both countries to maintain robust regimes for the protection of individuals’ personal data.

Duty-free digital content

The free flow of content across borders – whether in the form of an e-book or a music streaming service – is fundamental to open digital markets. The agreement guarantees the free flow of digital content between the UK and Australia by ensuring that the content is not subject to customs duties.

Electronic contracts and signatures

Traders can conclude contracts electronically, secure in the knowledge that both the UK and Australia have committed to recognising their validity. Any exceptions to this will be published online and kept under review.

The UK and Australia have also committed to not deny the validity of electronic signatures and other forms of trust services on sole grounds of being in electronic form.

Electronic invoicing

The UK and Australia recognise the importance of electronic invoicing and will strive to ensure that electronic invoicing systems will be interoperable.

Paperless trading

The UK and Australia will look to make trade administration documents available in electronic form and to accept the electronic form of those documents as legal equivalent of the paper version, helping reduce the need for physical paperwork at the border.

Safer trading online for consumers and businesses

The FTA includes a wide range of protections for consumers and businesses trading digitally.

Source code and cryptography

The UK and Australia have committed not to require businesses to share the source code of their software and encryption keys as a condition of accessing their markets, meaning traders can operate with greater confidence that they won’t be forced to hand over their valuable intellectual property.


The UK and Australia have committed to continuing to build up their respective cybersecurity response capabilities and strengthen collaboration mechanisms, helping to make the online environment more secure.

Online consumer protection

The agreement will help make consumers safer online by guaranteeing the UK and Australia will have measures in place to protect consumers involved in digital trade, increasing the confidence of consumers to engage in cross-border e-commerce.

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