June 15, 2020
New measures to boost digital trade and help turn the UK into a global tech powerhouse were announced on 10 June 2020 by the International Trade Secretary, answering industry calls for support for UK tech firms.
The Government says that Liz Truss will unveil a package of strategic interventions during London Tech Week to support UK tech companies to seize trade and investment opportunities overseas. Developed in partnership with stakeholders across the industry, the Government says that the interventions will “boost the sector over the long-term and aid its immediate recovery from Coronavirus”.
The new measures will seek to increase tech exports to fast-growing international markets, including Asia-Pacific, strengthen scaleups’ market readiness to export, and attract investment to drive innovation and create jobs.
The comprehensive range of measures include the creation of a new Digital Trade Network for Asia-Pacific, which will support UK SMEs to break into the Asian market.
The measures are being announced as part of a wider programme of support for UK tech to ensure the industry benefits from trade opportunities, including future free trade agreements (FTAs). The Government says that future FTAs with partners such as the US and Japan will “enable the UK to go further, setting new standards in areas of digital technology and e-commerce, and encouraging further investment into the UK’s world-leading tech companies”.
This week the DIT launched the first round of negotiations with Japan. Government analysis shows a UK-Japan FTA will “benefit every region and nation of the UK, with the greatest benefits in Scotland, London and the East Midlands”. The Government says that trade talks will cover all areas set out in the UK’s published negotiating objectives, including cutting edge provisions on digital trade, professional and financial services and support for SMEs.
The Government says that a number of digital tech subsectors are seeing increased demand as a result of Coronavirus, including EdTech, MedTech, fintech, and cyber security, leading to more export opportunities. Recent research by Sage UK shows 37% of UK SMEs are looking to grow their trade in international markets over the next three months. To read the Government’s press release in full, click here.