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Business and Trade Facilitation
The Business and Trade Facilitation module promotes the adoption and use of technology to facilitate trade. The DEPA:
- Promotes paperless trading by making e-versions of trade administration documents available and equivalent to paper documents in most situations. DEPA recognises that technologies are evolving and that data exchange systems may take the place of trade administration documents in the future.
- Requires the legal frameworks that govern electronic transactions within DEPA partners to be consistent with internationally developed model frameworks.
- Sets up faster customs procedures for express shipments, while maintaining appropriate customs control and selection.
- Confirms that DEPA partners should not impose customs duties on electronic transmissions.
- Supports the growth of e-payments. DEPA recognises that payment technology is evolving so promotes transparency and a level playing field. At the same time, trust and security of payment systems is important so DEPA allows regulation in special circumstances or to respond to a balance of payments crisis.
DEPA promotes the use of e-invoicing across borders in the DEPA region. With e-invoicing, businesses no longer need to generate paper-based or PDF invoices that have to be printed, posted or emailed, and buyers no longer need to manually enter these into their accounting system.
Treatment of Digital Products and Related Issues
This module affirms DEPA Parties levels of commitments relating to the Treatment of Digital Products and Related Issues.
Data is at the heart of digital trade and the wider digital economy. We are only now starting to see the potential for data to support well-being in New Zealand and to drive innovation amongst businesses. Trade and production are also now heavily dependent on moving, storing and using digital information (data), increasingly across borders. The DEPA recognises this by:
- Requiring DEPA partners to have in place legal frameworks to protect personal information. DEPA adds to other international discussions on privacy by setting out the principles that underpin strong protection frameworks including transparency, data quality and accountability.
- Affirming DEPA partners’ levels of commitments relating to transmission of information and location of computer facilities. These rules recognise the value of information flows and the development of new technologies and services.
Wider Trust Environment
The DEPA Parties recognise that cyber security is integral to the digital economy. To this end, the DEPA includes a provision relating cyber security. This means that as we work together on new and emerging issues, we will continue to consider cyber security.
The Wider Trust Environment is also about a safe and secure online environment. While the DEPA does not have specific rules on this point, DEPA Parties will continue to consider this issue as new areas emerge.
Business and Consumer Trust
The Business and Consumer Trust contains provisions relating to:
- unsolicited commercial electronic messages (or SPAM),
- online consumer protection, and
- principles on access to and use of the internet.
These provisions all aim to make it easier for businesses and consumers to take advantage of the opportunities digital trade presents.
The rules relating to Online Consumer Protection ensure consumers have the information to trade with confidence and access to appropriate redress if things go wrong. DEPA Parties will further explore the benefits of alternative dispute resolution or other mechanisms to facilitate the resolution of digital trade issues.
Digital identity (e.g. national business numbers) is a new issue for trade agreements. There is no one approach to digital identity but the DEPA Parties recognise that cooperation will increase regional and global connectivity. The DEPA provisions:
- clearly recognise that digital identities are an important component of the digital economy; and
- enable DEPA Parties to work together on digital identity issues. Future work could include the exchange of knowledge and expertise relating to digital identity polices and regulations, technical implementation and security standards and user adoption.
Emerging Trends and Technologies
DEPA is a living agreement. As new technologies emerge, and new challenges arise, we want to ensure that DEPA is also able to evolve. DEPA provides an important vehicle for us to discuss these issues with close partners.
DEPA covers some emerging trends and technologies, but acknowledges that there is more to know before international trade rules can be developed among DEPA partners. Areas where DEPA Parties will look to deepen their cooperation relating to the digital economy are:
- Fintech, including by involving fintech businesses.
- Artificial intelligence, including by working together to promote the adoption of ethical and governance frameworks.
- Government Procurement, including by considering impact of greater digitisation of procurement processes.
- Competition policy.
Innovation and the Digital Economy
This DEPA module recognises the importance of technological innovation, creativity, and technology as a means to achieve social and economic welfare.
- recognises the importance of a rich and accessible public domain;
- looks to the future of data innovation and sets a framework for future work on data-sharing projects; and,
- promotes open government data, including by providing that DEPA Parties strive towards open data when information is made available to the public.
Small and Medium Enterprises Cooperation
DEPA is a vehicle for cooperating with our partners on digital economy issues. It sets up a framework for cooperation, enabling us to test ideas and promote our businesses, particularly our SMES, with DEPA partners.
The digital economy means SMEs can connect with their target market quickly and easily. We want to make sure that SMEs have easy access to information about regulations that concern their business when operating in DEPA partners. We also want to make links between SMEs. There will be a Digital SME Dialogue held after entry into force to promote the benefits of DEPA.
Digital Economy Partnership Agreement: What it means for small business