18 May 2019

New Zealand, Chile and Singapore work on digital trade agreement

11:00 am on 18 May 2019

The Trade and Export Growth Minister is working on a digital trade agreement with Chile and Singapore.

David Parker announces next steps in Overseas Investment Act reform

David Parker said New Zealand, Chile and Singapore hope to shape the rules for digital trade. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

David Parker said there is a lag in the development of rules and regulations because of the boom in digital growth.

"These talks are an opportunity for New Zealand to help shape the international rules in this area to ensure they make it easier for our businesses and consumers to take advantage of digital trade opportunities, while protecting public and private interests," Mr Parker said in a statement.

"We will ensure that issues of importance to New Zealanders such as personal privacy, consumer protection, data management, transparency and openness are appropriately protected."

Mr Parker said the countries hope to help shape the rules for digital trade.

"The future of international trade is digital. Our three countries have a strong record of working together on the rules and best practice for international trade policy."

Digital trade can help businesses overcome the challenges of scale and distance, in a country such as New Zealand which is trade-dependent and distant from key markets, he said.

"Digital technologies can also potentially support the increased participation in trade by women, Māori and rural communities, helping spread the benefits of trade across our communities and regions."

Mr Parker said the discussion will also look to address issues relating to the safe and secure use of the internet, while eliminating terrorist and violent extremist threats.

"New Zealand will also be looking to explore with Singapore and Chile how the agreement might address digital economy issues relating to a safe, secure and free internet, including the issue of eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms so important for the fourth estate," the statement from Mr Parker said.

Mr Parker is meeting today with Chile's Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Ampuero and Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting.