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The DEPA was signed in an entirely online virtual signing ceremony by New Zealand, Chile and Singapore on Friday 12 June 2020 NZT and has entered into force for New Zealand and Singapore on 7 January 2021.
Who is involved?
New Zealand, Chile and Singapore - as small trade-dependent countries, we have similar thinking on many trade policy issues. New Zealand, Chile and Singapore were three of the four countries to initiate and create the P4 agreement, which set the scene for the TPP and then the CPTPP agreements.
DEPA will be a living agreement, and its membership may grow – the DEPA will be open to WTO members that are able to meet its standards. New Zealand welcomed Canadian(external link) interest in joining DEPA in December 2020. In October 2021, the DEPA Parties agreed to commence negotiations with the Republic of Korea(external link) to formally join the DEPA.
What is the scope?
The DEPA Parties have considered all aspects of the digital economy that might support trade in the digital era. Parties have also looked at a range of emerging digital economy issues and subject areas.
Digital Economy Partnership Agreement: the digital evolution
How does this fit in with other digital work?
The intention is that this agreement will complement the WTO negotiations on e-commerce and build on the digital economy work underway within APEC(external link), the OECD(external link) and other international forums.
The Parties hope that this new agreement will generate new ideas and approaches that can be used by members in the WTO negotiations, and by other countries negotiating free trade agreements or engaging in international digital economy or digital trade work.