UK and Australia sign FTA with digital trade chapter

The UK-Australia FTA follows an ‘Agreement in Principle’ reached in June 2021. The agreement removes tariffs from a large part of the bilateral trade in goods, and includes trade in services, digital trade and intellectual property. The chapter on digital trade includes provisions to facilitate cross-border flows of data and to avoid unjustified data localisation requirements. It also covers issues related to personal data protection, a commitment not to impose customs duties on electronic transmissions, and to ban mandatory requests for source code transfer. It ensures the legal recognition of electronic contracts, signatures and various electronic trust services. There are also provisions on regulatory cooperation in digital identities to promote compatibility, as well as provisions in which parties to fostering open government data. On data innovation, there are commitments on cooperation on data-sharing projects, regulatory cooperation on data mobility and on sharing research and best practices. There will be a period of internal scrutiny before the agreement is formally put forward for ratification.