Digital trade

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

This guidance is an explanation of UK-New Zealand FTA Chapter 15: Digital Trade


The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) harnesses the potential of digital technologies, to make all forms of trade cheaper, easier and faster by:

  • ensuring the free flow of trusted data
  • promoting world-leading standards for personal data protection
  • ensuring the legal recognition of electronic contracts and signatures
  • allowing our businesses to trade and invest more freely
  • creating opportunities for the UK and New Zealand to collaborate on shared challenges

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 New Zealand 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 New Zealand 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 New Zealand have committed to recognising their validity. The UK and New Zealand 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

Both countries recognise the importance of electronic invoicing and will strive to ensure that electronic invoicing systems will be interoperable.

Paperless trading

Both countries 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. Electronic transferable records will be designed taking into account the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (UNCITRAL MLETR) allowing for the use of electronic trading documents.

Safer trading online for consumers and businesses 

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

Cybersecurity

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

Digital innovations

Digital innovation and emerging technologies will have important roles in promoting economic competitiveness and facilitating trade and investment.  The UK and New Zealand shall cooperate as appropriate on matters of digital innovation and emerging technologies by exchanging information, sharing best practices on the implementation of law and policies in matter of enforcement and compliance.

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