Digital Trade Pack between New Zealand, Chile and Singapore

Date:  03 July 2020

On 12 June 2020, New Zealand signed its first ever Digital Trade Pact in a virtual online signing ceremony – The Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA)- with Chile and Singapore. [copy here].

The purpose behind the agreement is to build and support trade in the digital era, This will complement the WTO negotiations on e-commerce and other international forums.  Some keys elements include consumer and data protection, encouraging and enhancing digital innovation and to facilitate paperless trading. 

This is a great initiative for companies in New Zealand to take advantage of digital opportunities in the Singaporean and Chilean markets.

The DEPA is being described as a living agreement. The government comments “that as new technologies emerge, and new challenges arise, we want to ensure that DEPA is also able to evolve” 

The Business and Trade facilitation module promotes the adoption and use of technology to facilitate trade however, a few points to note:

  • DEPA partners need to have in place legal frameworks to protect personal information;
  • Requirements around commitments relating to transmission of information and location of computer facilities;
  • Provisions around cyber security;
  • Business and consumer trust provisions around SPAM, online consumer protection and principles on access to and use of the internet;
  • Digital identities – recognising that digital identities are important in the digital economy and that the DEPA parties need to work together on digital identity issues;
  • A Dispute settlement module is included to assist with a fair, efficient, and transparent process for resolving disputes between governments.

With the disruption that has been experienced by all of us since the arrival of Covid-19, at Ironside McDonald Intellectual Property we have been impressed by the amount of innovation that has been happening in New Zealand. 

The number of calls and inquiries we have received around new initiatives and ideas, companies doing 360 reviews of their business to create, at record speed, new ways of operating their business, offering of online platforms to assist small business to advertise and offer their goods and services, are so impressive.

We may have been in lockdown, but our business savvy minds have been racing with ideas around how to do things differently, more efficiently and effectively. Some of these changes have needed to be made for some time. Covid-19 has forced companies into making and embracing these changes and smarter ways of working.

The development and offering to the public and business of online platforms at record speed has shown us the power of the smart tech people we have in New Zealand and what can be created to support the needs of small the medium size businesses.

The DEPA is therefore well timed for providing and extending digital opportunities for extending trade and to drive innovation amongst businesses.

The ability to understand and connect with your target market quickly and easily is invaluable and critical for business success. All this aids in accelerating the growth of a business and provides small and medium sized businesses with opportunities to consider marketing and how to scale up their businesses in a whole new way.

With digital trade growing exponentially, signing of the DEPA and the framework it provides to support trade in the digital area appears timely for small to medium businesses. With the creation of offshore opportunities to trade digitally with Singapore and Chile it will be interesting to see what companies take advantage of this.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to ensure you have sought trade mark protection.  If you are a business that will take advantage of DEPA you need to ensure you have obtained trade mark protection in Chile and Singapore.  At Ironside McDonald Intellectual Property we can assist you with this.  Send us an email or give us a call.