Our digital sector is worth around £150 billion and employs some 1.5 million, it is a highly innovative and competitive space. Many of the companies that make up the sector are successfully operating exclusively within the UK market, but there are also those that have an urge to explore opportunities beyond UK shores; sadly, these companies often face restrictive measures when trying to penetrate these markets.
The fact is that whilst some countries are open to digital trade and are ready to embrace the huge economic and societal benefits of free and open digital markets, others have instead chosen to pursue more restrictive regulatory approaches, perhaps to protect their domestic companies or maybe for political objectives. If we just look at the G20 nations over recent years, 7 have actually become more restrictive, 10 have made no strides at all to open their markets, and only 3 have become less restrictive. So, the impact on UK businesses is that they face a host of barriers to digital trade and cross-border electronic transactions, often around licences for e-commerce activities, online tax registration, and declarations for non-resident companies.
Where the UK does not have a negotiated trade agreement, trade in services between two WTO nations is governed by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) that predates the commercialisation of the internet and is effectively not fit for the digital sector. Some early post-Brexit agreements forged by the UK government, particularly the UK-Japan CEPA, demonstrates an ambition on both sides to better facilitate digital trade; but there is so much more to do if this sector is to flourish overseas.
Many UK digital services companies have little understanding of their obligations when trading services overseas and this can leave them exposed in many areas. Join Andrea Collins of Global Trade Department for this short, 60-minute webinar to explore markets more open to UK companies and importantly, the steps digital services businesses need to take to safeguard their operations when trading overseas.
To find out more or reserve a spot click here.
15/06/2023 12:00 - 13:00
Empowering SMEs in International Trade programme