New “five-point plan” to tear down regulatory barriers and drive growth in tech sector

A new “five-point plan” for digital trade will help businesses break down regulatory barriers and unlock new opportunities, the Government has suggested.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) said the strategy will also help reduce costs and cut red tape.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the new five-point plan?

Launched during London Tech Week, the new strategy aims to “break down unfair or discriminatory digital trade barriers” to help British businesses export digital goods and services.

This may include removing regulations that restrict a firm’s ability to benefit from digital technology, such as paperless trading, or removing requirements to localise data or disclose intellectual property, such as source code.

Despite the digital sector contributing £150 billion to the UK economy each year and employing almost five per cent of the UK workforce, the latest research found that tech businesses continue to be restricted by unnecessarily rigid legislation.

What are the five points?

As summarised by the DIT, the five points are:

  1. Facilitate more open digital markets to ensure British consumers and businesses benefit from greater access to digital markets in other countries.
  2. Advocate free and trusted cross-border data flows that will make it simpler and cheaper for businesses that use data to trade internationally while maintaining the UK’s high standards for personal data protection.
  3. Champion consumer and business safeguards through enhanced consumer and intellectual property protections.
  4. Promote the development and adoption of innovative digital trading systems such as digital customs processes, e-contracting and paperless trading, which can cut red tape and make trade easier, cheaper, faster, and more secure.
  5. Establish global cooperation on digital trade via free trade agreements with international partners and using our G7 presidency and seat at the WTO to push for countries to become more open to digital trade.

Strategy to “open up new, exciting opportunities”

Commenting on the plan, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “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.”

On course for “record year in tech investment”

The strategy comes as the UK tech sector experiences a record-breaking year for investment. According to Tech Nation, digital firms raised some £13.5 billion during the first six months of 2021 – almost three times that in the first six months of 2020.

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