Digital trade will be a key focus of the UK’s trade negotiations, as it has been with all modern trade deals. This presents opportunities, but also risks for consumers. What is included in the final text of these deals could mean the difference between consumers having easier access to new products originating in different countries or being more susceptible to scams as their personal information flows abroad.
The first major trade deal that the UK has signed since leaving the EU, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Japan already sets some worrying precedent in terms of the extent to which the Government is protecting and future proofing consumer interests in the digital sphere.
This paper sets out the actions the Government must take to ensure consumers can have confidence that their interests are being fully reflected and protected. This includes enhancing cross-border consumer protection; ensuring strong data protection, maintaining the UK’s ability to regulate online harms, protecting the UK’s strong net neutrality principle and ensuring that consumers benefit from digital trade, for example, through the inclusion of commitments to ban customs duties in connection with the import or export of digital products and agreement on provisions to ensure cheaper and ideally free roaming when people are travelling in the partner country.