“Australian businesses welcome the greater certainty in the movement of data and privacy rules across Asia with today’s signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the world’s biggest Free Trade Agreement,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.
“Australia now has more advanced digital trade rules with Asia than with Europe or the USA, which will encourage greater investment in the region, ensuring that Australian companies are well positioned to leverage the region’s growth.
“The data flows and localisation articles in the agreement are the first commitments of this kind for a number of large and emerging RCEP countries, improving on commitments in Australia’s other trade agreements with individual members.
“Ai Group worked with like-minded industry groups and business representatives from across the region to contribute directly to the negotiations as part of the East Asia Business Council Working Group on RCEP. Modern ecommerce rules and ease of use for SMEs were two of the top priorities.
“As the WTO struggles to secure a global commitment to negotiate digital trade rules or a commitment to extend the moratorium on applying duties to the movement of data, this puts Australia and the Asia Pacific region at the forefront of modern trade rules.
“While the FTA gives limited new market access to individual markets, the uniform rules for trading in the region will support regional supply chains and improve the international competitiveness of Australian companies,” Mr Willox said.